to pass the joy on

we stand on wood boards connected long
down walkway into ocean,
eight of us feeling the cold whipping of the wind,
spray of ocean wetting our hands,
husband and sensitive artist child creep
down steps to peer at sea lions
resting on boards below,
while bookworm daughter freezes at the sight
of small crowd of strangers
standing between her and daddy

tears well,
threaten to overflow
at the thought of not going below,
not getting the up close look at
magnificent creatures of the deep
and internally she weighs her options,
missing out
or passing by the people
and i watch her,
gently urging her to step past,
it's okay,
but something in her makes her
she just won't move,
and when husband and artist child resurface
and beckon us to follow them back to car,
she finally snaps out of fear and
lets her tears pour forth

i hold her close,
whisper into her brown curls,
"it's okay.  let's go talk to daddy,
maybe he'll take you down again.
but baby,
you have to learn,
people are not scary."

when we reach husband,
he takes hold of her hand and
leads her back,
to the steps,
to the sea lions,
to relief in her young mind,
watching them go,
i sorrow for her fears,
desperate to show her that people are just
created in His image,
broken, imperfect people
just like us,
and nothing to fear,
but all i can do is love her,
guide her gently, and show her how to
love people,
knowing His grace is sufficient.

i show her my gratitude journal,
and give her a beautiful notebook with her favorite,
on the cover,
ask if she wants to count gifts from God too,
keep track of the countless ways He blesses us,
and she beams,
runs off,
and writes,
and i know when she begins to see gifts,
grace in all,
she will begin to see people as a gift too,
and her fears will subside...

230 long port san luis pier
231 amazing, immense sea lions
232 warm shawl made by mother-in-law
233 daughter's intensity in all things she does
234 giggles with kids
235 nancy
236 big, warm house
237 silly little girls making silly little jokes
238 enormous beautiful trees out front window
239 husband who works hard for us in the pouring rain
240 the hope of snow
241 wise words
242 candles flickering while the rain falls down
243 son practicing guitar
244 little guys many,many fat rolls
245 the way he pats his chubby tummy while he walks
246 orange-blue dancing flames of fire
247 ten seconds of a snow-like substance falling here on the coast of california
248 daughter beginning gratitude journal


to talk of snow, hope, and stuff

the forecast is snow here on
the central coast of california,
and life has pretty much stopped
because it
and when you are walking in the grocery store
all you hear is people talking about
maybe it really will snow

and i find it amusing that as most of the country is
desperate for the snow to leave,
are hoping,
longing for snow to fall

a community of people,
joining together in hope,
and it's something we need,
like we need water,
hope refreshes the soul,
it keeps it going,
hope gives reason to breathe each morning,
to open eyes to the dawning of
a new day

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick"
prov. 13:12

and i think on life before i understood the song,
before i became the embodiment of amazing grace,
how i woke mornings in dread,
how i scrambled to find reasons to live,
to make all worth it,
and when my eyes were finally opened,
hope never left,
it was constant,
a glass of water, never empty,
refreshing me in all,
and on days when i think i can't bear to go on,
when tears fall,
and heart hurts,
and eyes can't see straight,
i can dig deep and find that hope,
always there,
always present.

"Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint."
Isaiah 40:30-31

and so i sit here,
hoping for snow with everyone else,
and though i look out the window and see sun,
and it is slowly warming,
though it seems impossible for that
blessing of white angel down
to fall upon us,
i hope


to wonder about grace

"amazing grace how sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me
i once was lost but now am found
was blind but now i see"

i had heard the song throughout my childhood,
it was one of those songs that you just knew,
like "we will rock you" or "love shack",
just one of those songs everyone knew,
but i never really knew it.
i only knew two definitions of the word grace,
one was a name,
the other meant delicate,
and so i thought this song was about a girl named grace.
a very heroic girl
who found a lost person,
and somehow helped this person to gain sight...?
i don't know.
didn't make much sense to me either,
but that's what it meant in my mind,
and apparently it was a very famous song
so it made sense to lots and lots of people.

i was seventeen when i finally learned what it meant.
yes, seventeen.
when i was fifteen i sang the song on the sidewalk at school
with a girl i knew,
we raised our voices together and harmonized beautifully,
and she,
being a christian,
knew what we were singing about,
and you could hear her passion and heartfelt cries,
and i,
thinking i was singing about strange superhuman girl
didn't care at all,
just wanted to sing.

when i say i thought that's what the song was about until i was seventeen,
i'm absolutely serious.
then God found me,
hiding behind shaved head, punk clothes,
and tears,
and i got it,
i understood the words of the song,
this grace was not a superhuman girl,
it was that which washed me clean and
dried my tears,
and suddenly,
though i never knew i was blind,
i could finally see.
and all else fell into place,
and there was just this one word,




to go to the holy ground

i tread softly,
and i am afraid to speak,
and if i were not afraid,
no words would be sufficient
this is a place like any other
for most people,
a place to be ignored
and trampled upon,
a place easily forgotten

and yet for me this place
holds life,
wrapped up in the midst of houses
and cars driving by at
high speeds,
in what is probably the most unscenic
area of town,
here i stand,
and this,
for me,
is  holy ground

and how do you speak on holy ground,
any words but whispered,
tear-stained prayer,
how do you stand without
knees buckling underneath you,
and shakily fall
and lie in your tears
upon that
holy ground?

and when foot traffic passes you by
and you know their speech is
marveling over the oddity in front of them,
but you can't seem to find it in you
to care,
because here you are,
pouring all out,
bearing heart and soul,
and next to you lies a candy wrapper,
and someone's trash can is behind you on the street
awaiting the trash man,
but you are breathing in life,
and refreshment
and you feel His Hand resting on your back,
and nothing matters but
on holy ground

there is a house full of beautiful children
wondering where mama is,
a husband aware of wife's retreat,
spoiling and loving beautiful children
while they wait,
and this place,
here, now,
why did i run here?
why did i have to drop all that
life held,
and come?

as i chopped vegetables,
and dropped them in the pan,
my lips sang words,
"o, lead me,
to the place
where i can find you.
o, lead me,
to the place
where you'll be.
lead me to the cross,
where we first met,
draw me to my knees,
so we can talk,
let me feel
your breathe,
let me know
you're here with me..."

and the soup simmered,
and the children played,
and the
and the husband said,
and i ended up here,
tears staining
holy ground

with refreshed soul,
gratitude on lips,
i leave,
to return to that loud house
of a half dozen kiddos,
the soup still simmering,
the husband,
ready to say "go"
whenever the need may arise,
and Him,
who is with me always and
but knows when we need that
dose of awe,
of reverence,
which comes
when we spend some time
holy ground


to live a simple day

the rain is still falling,
for days and
children embrace sibling love
putting together puzzles
by light of candle
and i know it is only momentary,
that soon their togetherness
will cease,
a match for self is
certain to occur,
and all that will continue
is rain

we move on
in slow day fashion,
roast in the crockpot,
body filling bread baking in oven,
music soothes the restless
and i watch
and read
and listen,
and i think i am always doing at least one
i wonder who i would be
if i stopped,
but i think i won't for i am
girl of words and thoughts
and always have been,
and the rain

young ones fight and i
close my eyes,
try to keep from jumping in,
for i am usually too quick
to intervene
and i pray peace,
and peace comes swift
for they move on
and i whisper gratitude,
breathe deep,
this time was successful,
but each time is a new time,
and next
i hope
will be,
but i know it may not be
and the rain

we fold laundry,
piles of deep washed clothes,
and i dig in hazy mind to remember
what it once was like
folding laundry of only three,
not eight,
and i cannot find it,
and i count it grace that the work does not
seem more,
only what it ever was,
and we finish and walk to various rooms,
depositing clothing
which we will rewash and
fold and
put away again in only
a few days and
the rain keeps falling

potatoes are peeled and mashed,
roast rests,
gravy is made thick and
vegetables are seasoned
table cleaned and set by young one
quick to help and
love by service,
and i smile,
pleased to nourish family with food
born throughout the slow day,
i imagine eight sitting down,
enjoying food,
smiling, but
i know my family better than that,
and eldest daughter refuses to eat potatoes,
while seven year old won't
touch meat,
and three year old twins
eat nothing but a bite,
and baby throws all on ground,
dinner ends,
and the rain
keeps falling

at close of long day
we sit by fire,
enjoying each other with laughter and stories,
and i think how lacking this day was
of excitement,
but peace was here and
Peace was here,
and daughter smiles,
"this was a good day"
and i smile because
i knew it was and
i'm so pleased that
she did too,
and here,
the rain is still
  On In Around button
204 the slow, simple days
205 old rocking chair to rock my babies
206 birds singing out the window
207 wind chimes ringing ferociously, announcing the storm
208 spring flowers blooming in february
209 children learning to work out their own problems
210 reading and learning with little ones
211 beautiful music flowing through house throughout day
212 charlotte mason and her delightful methods
213 amazing scent of delicious soup simmering on stove
214 symphony of the wind and rain
215 wind rattling old old windows
216 running through freezing rain with little girl
217 my lap being fought over by numerous little ones
218 a husband who calls me all day long, whenever he gets a chance, just to say hi
219 mounds of clean laundry
220 daughter making bread alone for the first time
221 folk songs
222 memorizing scripture with children
223 long skirts flapping in the wind
224 coming into the warmth after the outdoor cold
225 being "freezing" cold outside, and it's really only 45 degrees
226 my boy turning seven
227 his smile
228 sound of rain on roof, drumming a beat of love
229 man pulling up (not a delivery man) to give me my long-awaited, thought lost in the mail and forgotten, a
       month after i was supposed to get it, copy of One Thousand Gifts!!!


to break the circle

he holds me and i remember days gone by
when i was young and naive
but knew
Truth and beauty,
and when others told me i was foolish
i knew we were right.
they filled me with religious jargon,
telling me i was finding the love of the world
that i was not following God.
and i kept myself away from them and
their biting stares,
their behind my back prayers for me to
stop following the world's ways,
to seek God again,
when i was actually seeking Him more
than ever before.
i knew His voice,
followed His leading,
they just didn't like where it lead,
so they reasoned,
it must not be from Him.

and whispers are like knives
when you know they are about you
and smiles tear apart souls when
you know the thoughts behind them,
and how can we be one body,
in one accord,
when we rip people apart who don't follow
our ideas of right.

none of us have the right idea of right,
only He knows right,
and we need Him.

there is no good apart from Him,
no truth removed,
and when we think we understand it all,
have the proper formula down,
that's when we are walking closer to them
than Him.

and i think He mourns when He watches us,
His children,
bickering and whispering,
"praying" for each other heartless, insincere prayers,
"knowing" our ways are the only way,
and He speaks it,
"remember, My way is the only way."
but we are condemning too loudly to 
hear His voice

and it happened to me
and i cried,
why don't they see i know Him,
i am following Him,
this is what He wants me to do,
and i was bitter and sad,
and yet,
watch me bleed out repentance,
for i have done it too,
whispered and prayed
for those not following my ways,
and it's a sick circle,
and Lord please help us break it


to float as a feather

i have been bogged down,
and i have cried a lot,
 i have felt like a feather in an ocean,
been pushed every way,
unable to move on my own,
feeling like i'm drowning,
yet remaining,
been dragged away from
the life raft,
when that is where i am
to be
and still i am
thinking i need to fight against
the current,
the waves,
the wind,
the ocean,
but i am just a
freaking feather!!!

and then my mental struggle subsides,
for i realize
no matter how immobile i may be,
He holds me up,
no matter how unable i may be,
He is moving me
in His direction,
to the place He wants me,
be it the life raft,
an island or
the middle of the ocean,
that's where He wants me and
He will sustain me

picture credit


button, at nancy's suggestion?


to love and respect and host a giveaway!

nine years,
and they are shocked
we have made it,
they don't understand
not making it
was never an option

nine years,
and there has been pain,
words which gouged hearts,
cut us open,
left us bleeding
and hurt that broke us,
that took our breathe away,
that stripped us of every ounce
of security
until all we had to hold on to was
God and
each other

but there was always love
and somehow
in the very depths of
who we are
we knew
we would get through it,
good times would come

and there is a season
for everything
the sun,
sometimes our eyes
connect and we
know love through our looks
and sometimes we
heart-wrenching tears or
yell in
unjustified anger and
find each other,
whisper apologies and
holding love close,
wrapped in
and i know him,
and he knows me
and here we are
loving each other
as only we can.

I was given the opportunity to review a book
on marriage,
a topic which I know intimately,
and yet am still learning,
growing in
Love and Respect for a Lifetime
by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs,
so easy to read and
beautifully inspirational.
I have read books on marriage,
most have faded from mind,
not much to take from them,
and then came
Dr. Eggerichs' book
filled with nuggets of gold,
drawing me to the heart
of God,
of my husband,
and showing me I am
not alone,
a desperate, emotional,
love-craving wife

"Do you realize the power of just holding your wife's hand?"
  -Dr Eggerichs

I found myself laughing
while reading
because everything he says
How we wives make comments,
ask absurd questions
because we just want to know
he loves us,
and how he feels these
are disrespectful,
undermining what he as a husband
is longing for,
if we just realize we are different,
not as James and Amy,
but as man and woman,
we can celebrate the differences
God has put in us,
and learn to live with them
in mind,
showing our husbands respect
and being shown love.

"No human being responds to contempt, and no husband feels love and affection in his heart toward a wife he thinks despises all he is as a human being."
-Dr Eggerichs

I sat outside
in our warm January sun,
watching my children play and
reading Love and Respect for a Lifetime,
and I found myself
every few pages to read to my husband,
and we just laughed and
"that is so true."

And I think if we can just
be mindful of
each other's needs,
seeking to give our spouse
the feelings they
long for,
the desires God puts in them,
we can help our relationships
and I thank Dr. Eggerichs
for writing this
gem of a book,giving us
practical ideas how to do that.

I was graciously given an extra copy so that I could give one away.  I love this book and I know you will too.  I am so delighted to share this dear book and here's how to enter...

become (or already be) a follower here and leave another comment,
facebook, blog, etc and leave another comment.

giveaway will end on Valentine's day.

Thank you friends... I love you guys, and hey, I respect you too! :)

 and i'm linking this with ann, discussing the spiritual practice of marriage...


to turn the hearts of the fathers 2

there's someone at the front of the church,
and i am lost in my own world,
completely ignoring their words.
someone else steps up and
begins his speech,
i try to focus
on him.
he speaks of children in our communities,
lost and alone,
children whose parents
don't care much what happens to them,
or are too busy,
or too poor,
parents who probably weren't parented themselves,
just continuing the cycle
of separation from

he tells of his organization,
mentoring these children,
giving them attention,
showing them kindness they
have never
he asks for volunteers,
people willing to donate their time
to dedicate themselves to
a child,
a teenager,
who will show these children something
they have never
seen before.

and i feel sad.
is this what we do now?
focus on the children,
forget the parent?
how much better if we taught the parent,
if we loved the parent too,
if we showed them how
to love their children
by showing them
couldn't we bring a family together,
parents and children,
instead of tearing them further apart
by building a love/trust relationship
with the child
the child who is desperate for
that relationship,
who will focus their affections,
on the mentor now,
instead of their parents.

i think of it again
and again,

He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, 
and the hearts of the children to their fathers
Malachi 4:6 
and why can't this be our focus?
restoring families,
turning them to each other
i watch people sign up in droves 
to be mentors,
and i quietly ask Him,
give the church a heart for the parents too...


to be a mama

i knew we would be married
from the moment i
saw him,
standing in line at the deli,
and i was afraid
so i made fun of him to
my friend,
and tried to forget about him
until he appeared
everywhere i was,
and i told my friends
this crazy guy was
stalking me and would most likely
kill me.

then one day he called me out
and told me
i was standoffish and
and i couldn't let him think that
so i said,
"no i'm not.  let's hang out."
and we did.

and a week later he wanted to know
what God was telling me,
and as casually as if i were revealing
what type of ice cream i wanted
i said,
"we're going to
get married."
and he simply responded,

four months after we met,
we were married.
i was 19,
he 21 and
along with him came
six year old boy
with cutest smile ever
hiding a broken heart.
that means i am
only 12 years older
than him)
born when my husband
biological mother signed over
custody and he became
single father,
dropped out of school,
working full time,
doing all he could but
little boy was

and now here i was,
a mother to the motherless,
trying desperately to love him
not knowing how to heal his hurt,
and he loved me,
and hated me,
and hugged me,
and yelled at me,
and ran to me,
and ran away,
and i tried,
and cried out,
"Lord help me love him
and time went by
He healed...

fifteen years old now,
the age husband was when
he was born,
fifteen years old now,
he calls me mom,
and His beauty resonates in
his young life,
ready for whatever the Lord
gives him
and i sit back and watch,
in awe of him,
of all He has done in him,
and so in love...

ian and newborn brother, moses

written for  random acts of poetry's writing prompt:
write a poem to, or in honor of, an orphan, someone you know who has adopted one, or your own adopter.