Tuesday, December 29, 2009


My father-in-law took us flying today. There are few things that make him happier than flying. It was a cold day and it took several tries to get the Cessna started which I must admit concerned me a little and made me want to say "we can sure do this another day." After she got fired up we headed out to the end of the runway. Sharon and I in the back. Lanny and Brooks, pilot and copilot. Off we went into the wild blue yonder. More white and gray on this winter day.

There we were hanging above the earth. Wings gliding on the wind. We flew over my sister's house then over the family farm and on to a neighboring town. When I get to look down from above it puts things in perspective. Houses, cars, farms, all become so small. Looking down you see the plots of land and spots of water, some bigger than others. Today the terraces caught my attention. The way they move across the land like someone's fingers playing in the sand or paint. God sized finger painting. Maybe so. I like the thought of it.

We landed in Eldon where I was promoted to copilot. Out with the old in with the new.

The thing about flying with Lanny is that he makes the copilot be the pilot. I'm glad he's got this kind of confidence in me and all but its a little nerve racking at first. But once you start feeling it and you're doing it, you're really flying, then you're so glad he made you. I see where Brooks gets the quality of believing in people so much that they end up believing in themselves.

I like to experience people at their best, in their element. To see their light shine so brightly. You can tell when a person is really passionate about something. They talk with a pleasant lilt, usually faster, with meaning, urgency and confidence.

Flying that plane helped me understand what Lanny finds in flying.
Thank you for sharing it with me.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tree in a Tin Bucket

Its December. 5 weeks from lift off. A lot of things are odd. Not bad just odd. For instance I've never had a tiny tree in a metal pitcher for Christmas but it makes me happy. I like this simple life we have going. Living in one big room. Its less pressure with more clutter.

One of my strengths is being adaptable. I sense peoples feelings and needs and can adapt quickly to make them feel better. I can also be happy with anything, adapting to what's at hand, making the best of a situation. I'm often described as sensitive and I wonder if this is a compliment or a curse. I'm going to choose to believe the best.

Anyway, we're making the best of each day we have left here with family and friends. Booking lunches and mall walks, dinner dates and game nights, birthday celebrations and merriment. I feel guilty at times. Guilty that we're leaving and won't be around to help with things. Things like estate sales and babysitting, remodeling projects and cutting down trees for firewood, moving people and making birthday dinners, baking cookies and shopping on spontaneous occasions.

I guess I just need to accept that we're going to miss out on lots of things I hold so dear. Sometimes when I'm with people it feels like someone is dying and we're mourning this great loss. I suppose we are. Like saying goodbye to the Colorado cabin each summer after wonderful memories have been made and caught on camera. "Until next year." I guess that's how I want things to be. Memories treasured in our hearts forever, all year long, until next time. Moving forward into the year ahead, taking things as they come. Making the best of each moment. Adapting to what's at hand and hopeful for the "next time" when we meet again.

There are bonds here that neither depth, nor height, nor mountains or seas could ever break. Ever. Love bridges great divides.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. 1 Cor 13:7-8

Thanks be to God for the gift of the moment, for what's at hand and for the next times.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanks Be

It's Thanksgiving Day, actually night. This morning I was thinking about how thankful I am. How thankful that someone made a day for being thankful. Set it aside and gave it its own name and time and date. To make sure that all of us would pause and think about the enormity of our abundance.

On the earth I am blessed beyond measure. Undeservedly so. When I think of people in slums and war torn lands my heart aches and I feel so guilty. I want for them to possess the same freedom, bounty and good graces that I do. Today I am overcome with thankfulness for my country. America. The land of the free. The home of the brave. Thankful for those who have willingly sacrificed their lives to stand for her.

We could talk about flaws and areas to improve. But just for a second, for a moment, could we think about what it would be like to live gratefully. Not just today but tomorrow too. And the next day...

I am thankful for eyes that see, ears that hear, fingers that type, legs that walk, a body that moves, a mind that has ideas and creates and most importantly a heart that feels. I am thankful to my Creator for life and love, peace and joy.

Who am I that I should deserve such luxuries? Who am I? I am THANKFUL.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

One Year Ago

Log Cabin Bed and Breakfast Dining Room

I don't think I can forget our 8th anniversary one year ago this October. Brooks had just resigned from his church job and we decided to get away for the weekend. I found this little cabin on a Christmas tree farm tucked away in Washington Missouri. We spent the first half of the trip fighting. We were exhausted from all the emotional trauma that came with being on a church staff through some heavy storms and the toll it took on us. The world as we had known it had sort of crumbled around us. The second half we spent making up and rediscovering the fact that we are desperately in love.

The part I'm recalling now, a year later, was our conversation around this dinner table. We usually talk about the future and the unknown of ours was very real. As we ate our frozen pizza dinner in our pajamas I remember saying something like "I wonder what will become of us? I see a great opportunity to spread our wings - to go and do - to listen for God - go on mission, join the Peace Corps - the sky's the limit. Or we could have a wonderful life, a great family and be where we are. I wonder what we will choose?" I don't feel now that we chose anything or that one is better than the other. This adventure seems to have chosen us in a way. A great gift that we would not have dreamed a year ago and if I were pregnant right now I'd probably have the exact same feelings I have about moving to Australia. Excited, nervous, scared, unknown, world overturned, chaos, peace, joy.

For me, it takes a grand amount of bravery to leave behind what I know and love for the unknown that lies in wait. And somehow in the deepest parts of me I am the happiest I have ever been in life. At random times throughout the day for weeks now I have been overcome with joy, peace, contentment and satisfaction. Wanting for nothing. We've been shopping a few times and I just walk around not even interested. Nothing I need to make me happy or feel better. These are wonderful words to be typing and unexpected from a year ago. Much has changed, much has happened, much has been learned and broken places healed. My heart and my head are different and better. I see things in new ways. I actually like myself. I think about the person I am and if I were someone else, I would like me. I can actually say I love myself. Not in an arrogant way, just a love your neighbor as yourself understanding sort of way. It feels good to be at peace within yourself and with others.

If the person I was a year ago had known we would be moving to another country in a year, she would have gone mad. I'm pretty sure a hospital would have been involved. But God knows what to give and when to give it, what to take and when to take it. I am amazed at what can and has happened in a year and it is good. I am rich beyond measure and money has absolutely nothing to do with it.

Monday, October 26, 2009


The pre to winter when the trees go out with a brilliant bang. They give their vibrant bow, branches dripping with color. Hues of red, orange and yellow no one could replicate. Magnified only by the sun's shine giving its iridescent awe inspiring glow. It is a wonder world of color out there. A Creator-size paint palette of perfection. I could take pictures but they wouldn't capture the essence. I'll just have to write the wonder of my leafy American street in my mind and put it on the list of things I am going to miss.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Orphan

Some children have been abandoned by their parents.
Some children have parents but feel abandoned.
Whether orphaned by tragedy, parental choice or by neglect;
this painting is a tribute to the pain you endure
and the hope in your future.
You have A LOT of love to give.
It just needs discovering.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Autumn-Ode to Holly

"Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns."

(George Eliot)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


I prayed to God for boxes. I walked into my office and the underneath of my desk was filled with boxes.

I prayed to the Lord for encouragement when I felt the weight of the world on me. Friends came to my aid unawares with cards, little gifts and sweet words like honeycomb. Lifting my spirit, holding it up, spurring me on to keep going and press on. They warmed my heart and made it beat, putting the bounce back in my step.

What can I do but throw my hands up in praise and wonder of God. His friendship astounds me. It matters and it is everything to me. Let me tell you what He has done for me He will do for you:

  • Come and listen, all you who fear God;
  • let me tell you what he has done for me.
  • I cried out to him with my mouth;
  • his praise was on my tongue.
  • If I had cherished sin in my heart,
  • the Lord would not have listened;
  • but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer.
  • Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!
Psalm 66:16-20

Monday, September 14, 2009


Last night was our neighborhood's annual Circle Picnic. Brooks and I couldn't go but we stopped by after our family dinner. Some of the long timers were sitting around chatting. I think we have the best neighbors in the entire universe. Most of them could be our parents and they look out for us. They care and are so hospitable. They were asking us questions about Australia and our big move. So generous with their sadness and encouragement.

We were talking about the house and all the traffic its brought to our dead end circle street. They went on and on about how much work we've done and how they hated to see us go. We spontaneously invited them to come over for their own little open house and they delightfully accepted. It was obvious they had been waiting for this moment. The whole pack of us traipsed into our home. They oohed and awed and asked us questions about moving walls, refinishing floors and paint techniques. It made me so happy that they all loved it and said they felt right at home. Dennis said "Brooks does SUCH a good job."

It was all so bittersweet. Realizing how much I am going to miss our quaint American neighborhood and our house on the Forest Drive circle. Tonight we sign the first contract on the house and I have been a mixture of feelings all day. As it gets down to brass tacks my emotions are surfacing and our coming adventure in Australia is becoming real. Though I know this is the good way, all I can think is, how bittersweet.

"Stand at the crossroads and look; ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls." Jeremiah 6:16

Saturday, September 12, 2009


I have been blessed with Grandmother's in my lifetime. Exceptional ones. Each unique in their personalities and ways of giving love. All magnificent in character quality. A lot of people fear aging. Despising how it makes them look and feel. I think there is something extraordinarily beautiful about the wrinkles, age spots and silver hair. Marks of wisdom and bravery. Marking history.

I have eaten my fair share of grandma cookies and homemade meals. She, no matter which one, would always make our favorites. I love the sound of each of their voices. I can hear them reading my favorite books at bedtime. Banging around in the morning light of the kitchen on Thanksgiving and Christmas. And I can hear their stories. I love the stories.

Today I stopped by to visit Grandma Bertha. I spent a few hours with she and Walter. It was like a soothing balm to my soul. My cares melted away and for those precious minutes I was swept up in WWII and stories of days gone by. We laughed and I cried. Good medicine for each other.

Grandmother, to me, is an expression of unconditional love.
God's pure love. Thank you God for the transforming love of a grandmother, always at just the right time.

pictured: Me with Grandma Dorothy

Mind Frenzy

My mind is a frenzy of thoughts and wonderings. There is a lot unknown. There are a lot of questions yet to be answered. Where will we live? Will we get our Visa's approved? Is the house deal going to be okay? What about the family? What about this and that? Today it has been overwhelming me. Taking me over like some wild murderous man has stolen a car and taken off carelessly through a perfectly good city. Wreaking havoc at every turn. One of my favorite authors calls it "crazy brain." Recently, quite frequently, I have thought my head may explode and that my face may actually fly off. Then I would be scattered around in tiny pieces, there to worry no longer.

Perhaps this is my problem, the worrying. To give way to anxiety or unease; allowing one's mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles. I've always struggled with the nerves. But, I thought I was beyond it. Since God tells us there is no need, He's got it all covered. About how He takes care of the birds of the air and flowers of the field. If I could just rest easy knowing its in His hands.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Phil 4:6

The other day I asked my Phyllis, as I affectionately refer to her, "how can I be more of an optimist?" She says to me, "well what you could do is very simple but can be difficult. Ask God to give you His eyes to see with. His eyes to see people. His eyes to see a room or a situation. With grace and mercy. Then you may begin to see more positively." This is why I pay her the big bucks.

On days like today when thoughts and wonderings go swirling in my mind making butterflies in my stomach, the most profound prayer I can muster is: Lord, I need Your help.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in time of need. Psalm 46:1

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Suss Out

The other day my boss's boss called me. I usually get a little nervous when he comes a callin'. I don't know why. He's always been very kind and helpful. This call was of personal nature. He had heard that we are moving to Australia and wanted to know "whereabouts." I told him we would be in Sydney. He said "well girl I've got a friend for you." I said "you do?" He proceeded to tell me that he and his wife had met this girl about a year ago in Paris while celebrating their 25th anniversary. They met on a ferry tour. She had offered to take their picture and because of her "british" accent the conversation progressed. They lost each other in the crowd as the boat docked not knowing if they would ever meet again. The next day they were touring a cathedral in Paris and in a mob of thousands they happened to bump into each other. Since then, they have become great friends. Jim said "she reminds me a lot of you. She's a devout christian, heavily involved in her church in Sydney. She's about your age and has long red hair. Anyway, I want you two to meet. I think you'll hit it off great. And you'll have a friend in Sydney when you get there." This made my heart so happy. I have been praying about this, about a friend, or at least some connection since we know no one.

Angie is her name and we've been emailing. I feel like we are fast friends already. She has been so helpful and excited. She even offered to take my resume and pass it out to all her friends and then proceeded to tell me "I'll let you know how our job hunt goes." She's been so generous and inclusive and warm. She attends Hillsong in Sydney and we look like we could be sisters. She says words like 'whilst' and 'suss out.' Aussies abbreviate everything and spell things without z's and ous's, like seriusly and organise. I had to Google 'suss out,' which means 'to figure out' or 'investigate'. I like this about them already.

I am bowled over by God's provision. What are the chances that a year ago my boss's boss would happen upon this great Christian girl who lives in Sydney and be able to connect the dots for us. Angie said she "was so excited & touched & moved by God that I had to go into the ladies toilet & just sit there & i cried...but with happy tears. Its just such an example to me of God providing. I mean what are the chances of me knowing Jim, and then God saying 'ok I will get Jim to refer Kris to Angie'... i mean He is just so faithful. I just am blown away by how faithful & helpful our God is."

Yes. Right on. Miraculous.

We placed the for sale sign in our yard Monday after a weekend of hard labor. Dirty hard labor. Our basement is now immaculate with freshly painted walls, sealed up cracks and sprayed for bugs. I detest bugs, especially the jumpy ones. It was a matter of minutes before the first car rolled past to pick up a flyer. Brooks showed it three times last night, that's Tuesday. A little more than 24 hours later. We now have a verbal offer from a pre-approved couple that we like, for more than asking price. COME ON! WHAT? SERIUSLY? I know these things can fall through but I am still amazed by this.

Dear God in heaven who resides in my heart, thank you for letting me experience Your miracles and Your hand at work. Some may pass these events off as "meant to be." But I know You and Your ways cannot be explained with words. You make me believe that better is one day in Your presence than a thousand elsewhere. And that yes, indeed, You are VERY FAITHFUL & HELPFUL!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Big Small Things

When you know you're not going to be around much longer, things you may have taken for granted become more important and weighty. Like the touch of your Dad's hand holding yours and looking into someone's eyes with your own. Gathering round the dinner table over food you've prepared together. Playing in the sand box or a kiss on the cheek. Watching the birthday girl open the gift you've carefully picked out and feeling the anxiety in hopes that it's just right. The smell of good perfume that lingers on you after a warm hug. Going for walks and watching each other's shadows dance on the pavement. I've become like a sponge, soaking up every ounce of joy out of the seemingly normal parts of life.

We've decided to move to a land we've never seen or heard, stepping out in faith in acceptance of a great gift and I can't waste a moment. I'm realizing how rich our life is and how grateful I am for the smallest of things. Thank you Lord for the bounty of goodness, I delight in each moment, each person, each laugh, each hug, each tear, each word, each jar of jelly made, each evening walk and talk, each corny joke and silly game, each piece of bread broken and cup shared. Write this on my heart, lest I forget, the honor of cherishing the moment. Remind me always and forever to be thankful for such things as these.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Cemetery

Ever since I was a child I've liked walking through the cemetery. There is something magical and mysterious about it. Like opening the gate to some sort of wonderland. I like looking at all the stones. Each one unique in its own way, like the person it represents. Some are so old you can't read them, covered with orange and yellow lichens and some are so new you wonder how their families are holding up. I read the names, searching for one quirky enough to fit a future child. 

This may all sound weird and morbid but it makes me think about life and death. The fragility of our bodies becomes real and I wonder when I will die and how and if I will be buried. I think about God and how we get to be with Him, how we end up there? The cemetery is such a beautiful, mystical place, so quiet and peaceful. It gives me room to breathe and liberty to ponder. Walking there helps me put things in perspective and reveals to me the beauty of a life well-lived.

Where do you go for peace and quiet? 

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Sitting in our friends well decorated and put together house last night made me think about the home we have created into our very own nest. We think its perfect and beautiful. Though it has its flaws, we consider them character.

When we bought the house it had been sitting empty for 6 years. It belonged to one owner so it was severely outdated, even dilapidated. Our parents thought we were nuts and they were right. Our grandiose idea was to completely renovate in one month. That's hilarious! One year later we still hadn't completed the project. We gutted the main level while living upstairs, all in our first year of marriage. Any young marrieds reading this should heed my advice, please listen to me, this is a VERY BAD idea. Why torture yourselves? You will cry and scream and fight and wear your stocking caps to bed because you have no heat. Bad idea. There's nothing romantic about this plan.

On one hand it was the worst idea we'd ever had. We were poor and wanted a house so we could move out of the apartment with the 3am dancing, curry cooking Indians that lived above us. This was our way of accomplishing that. Now, it is the best investment we've made. We're better spouses and friends. We learned so much about what's really important and how to love and respect each other. I learned that my husband is hands down the hardest worker you will ever know and that it stems from his great love and will to provide. He is a richly gifted man and I am honored to be his wife.

Our old grandma house with character is more like a new house inside now. Stylishly painted with color, glossy wood floors, crown moulding, plush carpets, and earthy textures. We frugally poured every ounce of our own creativity, sweat and tears into her. Every room is different, inspired by random things I liked at the time. We made a canvas and then painted our own version of home.

As I sat in their dining room, I was wondering how we can possibly sell her, handing the keys over to some strangers? It is foreign to me. Will they love her? Take care of her? Shouldn't we just stay here and keep trying to have a baby to put in this wonderful nest we've created? And then like a little light bulb complete with dinging sound, it dawned on me, this house and these things are not the nest. We, He and I, our marriage, our family is the nest. And if this great adventure we're about to embark upon could make our nest stronger, deeper, woven more tightly together with added color, then so be it. 2117 is a great house but she's not truly our home. Home is where we are together. Brooks is my home.

"Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God." Ruth 1:16

Monday, August 17, 2009


Lately, at night, trying to quiet the frenzy in my mind is like trying to stop a freight train moving at full speed single handedly. I try to talk to God and end up chasing my tail, off on this and that, what about this, what about that, what if, did I do this, was I nice enough, caring enough, did I listen well, is everything going to be alright, I should do better at this... Tonight, from somewhere deep within my soul rose up a song of old, a quiet and simple hymn, it goes like this:

I need Thee, O I need Thee
Every hour I need Thee,
O bless me now my Savior,
I come to Thee.

Over and over I just started singing it in my head and with its penetrating wisdom and soothing melody, I find myself gratefully at peace.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


I never wanted a dog. Don't get me wrong I love animals. I was one of those kids who adored them. I even worked at a Vet clinic for a while, caring for the sickly and layed up, cleaning up vomit and sitting with them late at night after surgery. And if you've never caught dog vomit in your hands you don't know what sort of love that is.

We never had pets in the house growing up. We were farm people, the pets lived out of doors.

It wasn't too long after we got married and my husband was begging to get a dog. I was like a brick wall about it. No way. No how. Never. He wore me down into trying it once. We handed that dog lady an outrageous amount of money, got the mini schnauzer and named her Molly. She was adorable and terribly needy. Like a baby. I wasn't ready for a baby. I liked doing as I pleased, going where I wanted to go whenever I wanted to go and she tied me down. So, three days later after lots of crying and convincing we took her back to her puppy friends. Heartbreaking, I know.

A few years passed and we started talking about a dog again. This time we decided if we were going to do it we would be noble about it and adopt. Our preference being an older dog, meaning, potty trained. We began the search and found Lucy in a shelter near St. Louis. Her shelter name was Chelsea and she was pretty rough around the edges.

She has since become a member of our family. Now, 3 peas in a pod. Minus the barking at the doorbell and excitedly jumping on visitors she's got fantastic qualities. I've never had someone so happy to see me walk in the door, who pounces on me and lays her head on my chest like a doggy hug. She jumps up in your arms if you go to pick her up, just to give you a hand. Lucy loves going for walks, chasing squirrels and going bye-bye in the car so she can stick her head out the window. She curls up into a dog ball in her bed and when I'm upset she knows and comforts me. She will howl at you to tell you things and in the evening she loves to play tug of war. She has completely won my heart. I adore her and know everything about her, all her little quirks. I have a dog in my house and I am so much better for it.

With the move looming we're trying to figure out a place for her and last night the reality of not having her in our everyday was crushing me... my heart hurt and I couldn't stop sobbing. I can only begin to imagine how mothers feel about their babies.

It is amazing to me how our hearts can change and grow. We've got our heels dug in, set our minds on having things our way, but as we open up to a new idea, something happens. I believe its God. He changes me, changes my heart into someone more loving, more considerate and selfless, more open and generous, like Him.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


My husband and I have been talking about moving to Australia. He's been accepted to this school of his dreams. We've both always wanted to see more of the world and probably secretly knew that some opportunity like this would come around. But, I never really thought we'd do it. I hoped, but never thought we'd actually apply for the visa's and book the flights and check into housing. You see, we both come from a long line of people who were born, who live and then die in the same town, even the same house. So this moving of continents is big for us. Scary and exciting.

We've been talking about it so much, about all the details everyday. Talking about it in the kitchen, on the phone, in the living room, on our evening walks, laying in bed, while doing the dishes and putting on our shoes, talking to God about it while crying under the covers. Its been like one big prayer salad.

Writing helps me. It calms me and gets all the crazy things swirling around in my head out for a moment. I've been journaling a lot and I decided that maybe it would bless someone or inspire them in some way, so I'd like to share with you some stories along way... some prayers from my own personal life's salad.