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.