People often ask me about the name of my blog... click here to read the story.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


If you've known me a long time, you know I hate winter. If you've known me a short time, you know I hate winter. Artic cold, snow, the holidays, and limited sunlight all add up, in my mind, to six monthes of misery. And if you don't live here and think I'm exaggerating, I'm telling the truth, winter in northwest Iowa is six months long.

Let me say publicly, I could NEVER have been a pioneer woman. I am not made of the same stuff as Caroline Ingalls in Little House on the Prairie. The Long Winter would have done me in and with or without Charles, the train couldn't have gotten me back to New England fast enough.

But the fact that I hate winter is not exactly what this post is about.

This post is about beauty.

When I walked out of my house this morning, I was struck, not for the first time, with the beauty of the snow swirling around me. Winter has a way of closing in the walls; wrapping you in snow, overcast skies, and a strange chill that reminds you you're alive. As you wrap your coat tighter, pull down your hat and nuzzle your face into the scarf seeking warmth, you feel separated from everyone else...alone. Not lonely, but alone.

I like being alone...not lonely, but alone. I used to think it was a curse and the cause of some of my depression. Now I get that it's just how I'm made. Solitude recharges me.

When I'm alone True Beauty shows up and reminds me He's with me in my winter. He's the warmth I seek and when I'm alone, His presence is clear. He's right every thought, every day dream, every part of my heart.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Slip Slidin' Away...

It's icy here. On Monday night we had ice then snow. Remember that fact.

Okay, so last night MaryBeth & I were having fun decorating the house-and bonding in the meantime- for a Christmas party for my "Bible Study" (I use this term lightly; other names could be: intimate allies, fellowship of the heart or as one husband calls us the wine study).
Anyway, MB & I decorating...having fun...bonding...,we realize we're missing some necessary items so I suggest we run to my shop & get them. We trek out to the garage and no van (I need the van because my shop keys are on the same key ring).
Oh darn...Brad took it. Brad used the van to take measurements at a friends house for their kitchen remodel.
No big deal...I'll just use the work truck and go trade vehicles.
MB & I pile into the dirty, old, big work truck and tool over to Cath's to switch cars. Their driveway has a steep grade and is notoriously slick...I know this, so I gunned it to get up. No problem. Then I drive up and start applying the breaks and they were completely useless. Both feet pushing the pedal completely to the floor and nothing... no response.
Because we were going slightly up hill, the truck started to slow down; but not fast enough. MaryBeth and I sat, watching in horror and what seemed like slow motion, as my friend's garage door loomed nearer. I had one hand on the steering wheel and one hand covering my mouth. I'm sure my eyes were as big as saucers. MB sat next to me saying mom, mom, Mom, MOm, MOM at regular intervals with increasing intensity. I, with my hand over my mouth kept repeating oh no, oh no, oh no, oh no.
We careened...okay, that's not the right word...skid? no, we had no traction to skid. slid? perhaps. glided? Yes, we glided, and gracefully, I might add, right into Nate & Cath's closed garage door eventually coming to a gentle stop.
I put the truck into reverse only to go careening (and this time it was careening) back down the driveway. I ended up jerking on the emergency break to bring the beast to a halt.
We looked at each other with astonished, perplexed, unbelieving faces. After briefly surveying the damage, we went inside. As I expected, Cath was gracious, kind and more worried about us than the door. Also, as expected, my husband was less than pleased with my latest predicament that he'd have to fix.
Many apologies and tears later I was thinking about the garage door incident and my reaction to it.
If you've read my last several posts, you'll know that the Lord's been working in my heart. He's convicted me of several things, and with His strength I've been amending my ways. But no matter how much we change, we're still human. We still say and do stupid, careless things. I knew the truck wasn't good on ice...I knew their driveway would be slick...I knew the immutable laws of physics...I knew that Brad would be home in just a few minutes. Why didn't I heed any of those things? Because I'm a human who can be very impatient at times and I wanted to go to the shop now.
It's kinda like life. We'll be driving along, happily bonding with those we love, not aware of the impending doom of icy driveways and immovable objects. Then, the stupid comment or harsh remark or careless act comes tumbling out and the breaks on our tongues don't work and we watch almost in slow motion as we hurt the ones we love. And all we can do is repeat in our minds oh no, oh no, oh no, oh no!! But it's too late. The damage is done. The doors busted and some body's going to have to fix it. And sometimes, no amount of tears or apologies will help. Sometimes, only time and a continuing evidence that we really desire change are all that will make it okay.
Thank God...truly, Thank God He's the mender of our broken garage doors and doesn't revoke our licenses because of careless screw ups.

Monday, December 8, 2008


In Pastor Ken's sermon yesterday, he talked about Mary and her response to the news that she was to be mother of the Messiah. He remarked that her initial reactions were submission and obedience. Ken went on to point out that 33 years later as Jesus struggled in the garden, he submitted and obeyed, in part, because he'd learned it, humanly, from his mom. Her trusting, submissive heart became one of her legacies.

This past summer, we celebrated my parents 50th anniversary. The church looked beautiful, the food tasted delicious and the fellowship was sweet. As part of the program, my nephew shared Grandma & Grandpa's legacy: unconditional love, truth (authenticty), and faith. He expounded on each point; noting specifics and exceptions and making us laugh and cry at regular intervals. The living legacy my parents have is rich and deep and appreciated by each of their children and 13 grandchildren.

As my own kids grow, change, and become more and more independant, I've wondered at my own legacy. Will it point them to the Father or cause them to question? Will it be percieved as a legacy of love, authenticity and faith, like my parents? Submission and obedience like Mary? Peace & grace like my friends, Nate & Cath? Will the legacy Brad & I leave prepare our kids and grandkids so that when their faith is tested "they'll come forth as gold"?

I want to be like Mary and my parents and the countless saints who've gone before leaving a legacy of faith in The One True God. I want to be faithful, but I realize that it takes more than a wish to leave the legacy you takes practicing all those things you want to leave, it takes faith, it takes intentionality :)

What about you? What legacy do you want to you leave?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Humorless (or how I blame everything on turning 40)

I have a confession to make. I'm not a virgin blogger. I had a site for several years called "The View From Here- Confessions of a middle-aged, moderately depressed person". It was funny (at least I and a few readers thought so... Brad never really thought so). Once in a while I said serious things. But mostly it was funny. It's still up, but I haven't maintained it for about 2 years. I went back and reread some stuff that I wrote and thought I really was funny...what happened??!.

I'll tell you what happened. 40. Within weeks of turning 40 I lost my ability to read anything close up; I lost part of my hearing; I lost much of my short term memory; and apparently, I lost most of my humor.

For LOTS of reasons, 40 was painful for me. To say I hated it is an understatement. I'm almost 42 and have comes to terms with some of it...but not the humor thing. Will it come back?

I have Red Hat ladies who frequent my shop, and they're not funny. There is nothing funny about old ladies meeting together so they all wear their red hats, drink coffee & spend money.

Is that my destiny? Or will I digress and be like a teenager in constant angst? What are my options? I've tried to be funny since turning 40 and it just doesn't work. Will it come back now that my heart is lighter? When I turn 50? 60?

I'm looking for answers, people. The problem is, you're all younger than me and have no idea what I'm talking about...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Raise Your Ebenezer

I've always love the hymn "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing". Tears come to my eyes every time I sing the phrase "prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love". But right now a different stanza strikes me: "Here I raise my Ebenezer; hither by thy help I come". I've never understood that line, and even though someone told me once upon a time what an ebenezer was, it didn't mean much. But it does now. In 1 Sam 7:9-14, Samuel is sacrificing offerings to the Lord on behalf of Israel. While they're gathered, the Philistines come, ready to attack. God, in a way only God can, throws the Philistines into confusion and the Israelites end up chasing them down and defeating them. They return, and in gratitude and hope place a stone on the battle field that Samuel calls "Ebenezer" meaning the Lord has helped us.

I was explaining to a friend this week how God's been working in my heart; delivering me from some crap and gently leading me to repentance & rest. I told her I felt like God had lightened my heart. Not just changed my mood or circumstances or took away a burden, but actually lightened my heart (which, for those of you who know me and know my struggles with depression, a light heart is a huge deal). The next day, she sent me this quote by Kathleen Norris from a chapter entitled "My Ebenezer":
There is a powerful moment in any religious conversion, in which a person realizes that all of the mentors, and all that they have said, all of the time spent in reading scripture, or engaged in what felt like stupid, boring, or plain hopeless prayer, has been of help after all. It is nothing you have done, but all of it is one event, God's being there, and being of help. The enemies you were facing, whatever obstacles seemed amassed against you, even your own confusion, have simply vanished. And you are certain that it is God who has brought you to this moment, which may even feel like victory.
For this ever searching, sometimes too intense individual, a light heart, given by Him, is victory indeed!
So, on this day of Thanksgiving, I pray you'll reflect on the myriad of ways He's been your help and deliverer and raise your own Ebenezer to the Only One worthy.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


"Your kindness, Lord, leads us to repentance..." Chris Tomlin (based on Romans 2:4)

I got a letter from the IRS yesterday. It struck fear in my heart. Was it an audit? Did I forget to file something? What did I screw up? With trepidation, I opened it; it was just my 1096 forms. Whew.

I don't know why I was scared; there's nothing to hide. But I know I'm bad at tax stuff. I never know what numbers to write where and anytime I'm asked about withholding, the whole concept has to be explained to me again. Do zero exemptions mean you get more money or less? I never know. After years of doing a lot of my own stuff, I'm still hopelessly lost in the world of numbers & finance.

And after years of knowing & trusting Christ, I seem to also still be hopelessly lost in the spiritual world too. Thank God for His patience and mercy that's new every morning...because I need it every morning.

Over the last few weeks, God's kindness, patience, and mercy has lead me to a place of repentance. Through some wonderful circumstances that were orchestrated by Him, He's convicted me of a withholding problem I have. No, not taxes, but I realized I've been withholding many important things from a lot of people in my life. I've been withholding love, time, money, energy, encouragement, Truth...all because of my own fears, insecurities, and selfishness.

Thank God He intervenes and doesn't let us stay the way we are. Thank God He doesn't withhold any good thing from us! Thank God that His kindness leads us to repentance.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Free Life

For those of you who know me, you know I love music--all kinds. Thanks to my younger friends, I'm into this thing right now called "Pandora Radio" or the Music Genome Project. You can create your own radio stations based on songs, artists or genre's. The beauty of the site is that it kicks out music that you may or may not be familiar with so you get to hear lots of "new" artists without buying complete cd's.

Anyway, the last few days I've been listening to The Pogues radio (they're an Irish band) which plays not only the Pogues, but groups whose sound is similar.

One of the songs that keeps popping up is called "Free Life" by Dan Wilson. The words of the chorus struck me:

And in the air the questions hang

Will we get to do something?

Who we gonna end up being?

How we gonna end up feeling?

What you gonna spend your free life on ?

What you gonna spend your free life on? That question rings in my ears and pierces my heart. Firstly do I live free? and if so, What do I spend this free life on? Empty dreams, vain pursuits, right living, self preservation, self protection, doing good, being better?

As I'm writing, trying to think of a way to wrap this up, another song comes to mind...Yahweh by U2:

Take these shoes

Click clacking down some dead end street

Take these shoes

And make them fit

Take this shirt

Polyester white trash made in nowhere

Take this shirt

And make it clean, clean

Take this soul

Stranded in some skin and bones

Take this soul

And make it sing

Yahweh, Yahweh

Always pain before a child is born

Yahweh, Yahweh

Still I'm waiting for the dawn

Take these hands

Teach them what to carry

Take these hands

Don't make a fist no

Take this mouth

So quick to criticise

Take this mouth

Give it a kiss

Yahweh, Yahweh

Always pain before a child is born

Yahweh, Yahweh

Still I'm waiting for the dawn

Still waiting for the dawn,

the sun is coming up

The sun is coming up on the ocean

His love is like a drop in the ocean

His love is like a drop in the ocean

Yahweh, Yahweh

Always pain before a child is born

Yahweh, tell me now

Why the dark before the dawn?

Take this city

A city should be shining on a hill

Take this city

If it be your will

What no man can own, no man can take

Take this heart

Take this heart

Take this heart

And make it break

Friday, April 11, 2008


Buying grapes is a tricky thing. They can look sweet, ripe & juicy and you throw one in your mouth and BAM- your lips pucker and your face screws up. I hate sour grapes. I tend to avoid grapes altogether because I hate sour ones so much.

But, oh, the joy of a good, sweet grape that almost pops when you bite into it.

John 15:5 "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."

I really don't want to be a sour grape in anybody's life.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Flirting with Eternity

I wrote this post in January of 2006's where the name for the site comes from...

We haven't seen the sun for more than a few minutes at a time since before Christmas. It's been overcast & cloudy & depressing.

But this morning I walked out to a magical, quiet, winter world. Because of a dense fog, the trees were white with frost. It was stunningly beautiful. I just stood there, trying to soak in the moment-knowing it would quickly leave as the fog lifted and the frost melted.

It got me thinking about fog.

It struck me that without the fog, the beauty I experienced would not be possible. I've often compared depression to fog. But even if you're not "depressed" in a clinical sense, we all go through times when life closes in around us and there's no direct sun-- only diffused light. And maybe, just maybe there are moments in our fog when we see a beauty that's only available during the fog and when it lifts, that particular beauty fades also.

I've also been thinking alot about flirting (and I do believe these two random thoughts relate-so stay with me).

We usually think of flirting with the opposite sex, but you can flirt with disaster and danger and just about anything else. My friend's little boy flirts with everyone he meets. He's 10 months old and charms & disarms people with his big, toothless grin--inviting smiles wherever he goes.

To invite someone or something in-I think that's flirting.

So when I walked out this morning, and saw the beauty, it felt like flirting. Something beautiful and beyond me that I could enjoy but not hold was inviting me. I felt something stir in my heart. A longing combined with a glimpse that I could not grasp.


Flirting with Eternity in the fog.

Can't Take It In by Imogen Heap
Can't close my eyes
They're wide awake
Ev'ry hair on my body has got a thing for this place
Oh empty my heart
I've got to make room for this feeling
so much bigger than me
It couldn't be any more beautiful
- I can't take it in.
Weightless in love...unraveling
For all that's to come and all that's ever been
We're back to the board with every shade under the sun
Let's make it a good one
It couldn't be any more beautiful
- I can't take it in.