Sunday, November 23, 2014

Witnessing love through skype...

My third daughter is in love.
My Music,
my Ju Ju Bean,
my Earth lover
and Ecology Major
is in love
and I've been witnessing it's growth
since this summer.

What a privilege it's been.

It's a brave new world now.
Skype, you see,
is the medium through which this love is growing.

They met at a wedding,
here in Oregon,
but he's from a different country.

After the celebration,
 he stayed with us for a week,
living in Josh's Tree House.

She spent time with him
to show him our wondrous land
our beauty
our treasures.

And within a day
they were finishing each other's sentences.
They were bonded in a way I'd never seen before.
They were so alike in nature 
and ways
and thoughts
and ideas.

I was dumbfounded.
And others
those who love My Music

And now they Skype
hours and hours
because he's home
and she's here.

They talk,
they laugh,
she's teaching him guitar,
they sing.

And what's a mother to do?

I love My Music
more than life itself.

And I see life rushing away from me,
I see no control
as it should be.

And I see hearts joining
whether right or wrong.

It's a force that cannot be stopped.

It's sweet, 
 it's innocent
and Magical.

And I have no control.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Being a Blessing...

I wrote about Blessings...
and what it really means
in my last blog.

Blessing: God with us.
Not what God gives us.

I try not to use the word so flippantly anymore.

And then I began to think about what it means to "be a blessing",
because we hear that phrase often
in our North American Christian world...
ad nauseam. 

 I just watched a movie,
one of the best I've seen in a long time.

Short Term 12 directed by Destin Cretton,
a low budget film with depth.

Its actors are real, genuine, and believable.
The subject matter is painful,
But it’s handled with beauty and truth.
The movie is sad, funny, depressing,
but what struck me most
was how God was displayed throughout,
though his name was never discussed
nor mentioned.

He was there in the midst of it,
just as he is in our lives
every day.

He was there because the broken were helping the broken.
He was displayed because the hurting were reaching out and connecting 
with the hurt and in the by and by
small healings began.

It was the story of a broken hurting person being a blessing,
being WITH broken hurting people. 

God WITH us. 

I'm not saying God-Jesus is broken and hurting.
I am saying God KNOWS what it is to be broken and hurt.
Jesus wept, remember.
And he is with us everyday in our pain.
And small healings begin. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014


When Josh got sick,
in 2004,
I began my journey of
wrestling with MY view of God.

It's been 10 years 
and I still wrestle. 

There is one thing I've learned though.

One of my favorite bloggers wrote about it here: 

She comments on our North American Christian culture
and how we do not understand blessing's true meaning. 

We use it flippantly 
and without depth.

She wrote: 
"Because blessed does not mean pleased. 
Blessed does not mean happy.  
Blessed does not mean fulfilled. 
It doesn't even mean fed or clothed or housed or healthy...

What it really means is that you are not alone, 
for God is with you.

God's blessing is His presence.

Nothing more. 
Nothing less... 
Just the Creator of the Universe, 
the artist and architect of Heaven and Earth, 
the Bringer of Light, 
the Weaver of Life, 
the One who knows you and loves you best of all, 
finding you in life's' most broken places 
and breathing into your weary soul, 
"I am that I am, and I am with you."

Contrary to popular belief, 
the Blessing of God is not what he gives us, 
the Blessing of God is that he is with us." 

And so I remind myself
that we are blessed when Josh has a good man and team of young men
step up making him football team manager,
helping him cope with high school.

And we are blessed when Josh is lying in pain on the living room floor
wrapped in blankets, hot packs and tears.
And we are blessed when he gives himself his shot each night,
though it's painful and he hates it,
And when he gets sedated for yet another throat stretch
or when he meets with his neurosurgeon to find out
which PE activities are safe for him in high school.

And I still wrestle,
with MY view of God, 
because it's skewed due to being human
and finite.

And I think about what my friend, Becky, says,
"Our definition of what is GOOD needs to be broader in North American Christianity."

Good includes suffering.

I have learned NOT to use the word "blessed"
flippantly anymore,
because Jesus said it best:

"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, 
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Manager of the Year!

Josh was given a plaque the other night at the Tualatin High School Football Awards Dessert.
"Manager of the Year!"

It was wonderful to sit on the bleachers
hearing coach praise him
and his efforts to serve the team. 

I wrote about Coach Hastin 
and how he made a life changing impact for Josh here: 
When Good Men Step Up!

It's all very positive
full of happy tears
and good character.

And I love it,
and I'm grateful,
but it's not the whole story.

There's the flip side too.

It's the side we keep quiet
and try not to focus on.

It's the chronic pain Josh deals with,
so bad sometimes that he can barely function.

It's the Ibuprofen and Tylenol that doesn't even touch it,
 the hot packs 
and the tears.

It's the picking him up from school, 
because he feels like crap
or the days I let him sleep it off, 
 or show up late, 
because he needed an extra long hot shower
to help him feel just a bit better.

Survivor-ship isn't for wimps.

It's the sadness my husband and I go to bed with
after a wonderful evening of  awards,
dreaming about what sport Josh would have been playing
IF he hadn't had cancer.

And we know it's futile thinking about the "what ifs",
but it settles into our hearts whether we want it to or not
for a time, 
until we push it out telling ourselves
to focus on "what is" instead.

And we remind ourselves:
we are the lucky ones,
Josh survived.

And when we hit this place,
just as we have before 
and will again,
we give way to grief,
just for a bit.

And we remind ourselves life is short,
it's unfair,
and it has meaning.

Look closely at that picture of Coach and Josh.

He went to school that day
for a science test, then his English class.
He came home and spent the rest of the day 
with hot packs, Ibuprofen, Tylenol and tears,
gearing up mentally for the awards dessert.

He knew he needed to go for his team,
 he pushed through the pain and went.

He didn't know he was going to get an award himself.
Manager of the Year indeed! 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

What will you do next, mom?

I've spent my life
doing what I knew I was made to do.
Raising children,
being a mom,
I'm my kid's biggest fan.

My children,
mostly adults now.

From my 1 and 1/2 pound first born Miracle,
to my Joy who "marches to the beat of her own drum",
to my musical, peace-keeping, nature loving red head,
my feisty, soccer loving, drama-queen
and finally
 my son who fought cancer.

From home school lessons,
Africa adventures,
field trips,
dress up,
Keepers of the Home Club
to skinned knees,
bare feet, 
soccer games
neighborhood dramas,
tree forts
time spent caring for and riding Freedom,
hours and hours of reading great books aloud,
and the sudden crisis of hospitals
and cancer treatments. 

It's all past me now.

And I sit here alone,
feeling as if 
I'm not able to assimilate into this new world.

I just resigned,
by mutual agreement,
from my new job.

I thought I could learn the skills necessary
for this brave new world.
I worked as hard as I could,
but it wasn't enough. 

I feel like such a failure.

What will you do next, mom?
She asks me on the phone.
Believing in me
more than I do
more than I can.
My Joy.

What will I do next?
What a great question,
so full of promise
and yet so blank,
right now.

I feel like such a failure.

But each one of my children,
incredible people,
amazing human beings,
cheer me on,
encouraging me,
believing in me.

After the tears
and sadness
and the ugly feeling of failure subsides,
I will begin again.

I have so many ideas,
and thoughts.

What will YOU do next mom?
Let's wait and see...

Monday, November 3, 2014

Finding My Joy...

Recently, I went on a road-trip to find My Joy.

My precious second daughter,
the one who graduated with a degree in studio art.
The motorcycle riding blacksmith,
with forearms and biceps
 made of concrete.

My Joy,   
who shaved her head bald
right before her sister's wedding,
just because.

My bad-ass daughter.

My Joy who took her senior picture 
with our horse, Freedom.

The girl who climbed trees late at night,
in her flowing prom gown
with bare feet and tiara, 
just to sit on the roof of our house
and gaze at the moon.

It was a sweet visit.
A time of bonding.

It was a tough visit,
she's no longer a child. 

It was a trip down memory lane,
as we unpacked an old trunk 
 stuffed full of her high school treasures.

We read through her journals,
each with different names. 
Her child self had written of mundane things,
daily happenings,
her first broken heart,
 a little drama.

There were Bible verses galore.

We reminisced about her desire to be Peter Pan
or feisty Jo from Little Women,
She usually played at being an adventurous boy,
never a demure girl.

My Joy was home educated,
through high school.
Scripture was most important.
She read through the Bible
more than once.

My Joy,
an adult,
moved in
with her boyfriend of two years.

She is not living 
how I had imagined she would 
when she was a child.

"He's my partner, mom."
"We don't need to get married"
Such a sweet tenderness between them.

She and I walked and explored,
talking of her beliefs,
her desires,
her dreams
her morals,
her spirituality.

We soaked in a Mugswort tea filled hot tub
and smiled at each other.

Her life now doesn't meet up with what I thought it would be,
when she was a babe in my arms,
when she was waddling on chubby legs,
when she was gangling and awkward,
a mouth full of metal,
when she was a fresh college student,
young and innocent.

I found my Joy,
a confident woman,
 living her life her way,
with grace
and love.

I don't grieve her choices,
not in the same way I see many
Christian parents saddened.

My Joy is complete.

My Joy is loved.

My Joy is happy.

My Joy is at peace.

She's My Joy.
And she always will be.

And now
I have to let her go...