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

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


This post has been tucked safely away as a draft since I wrote it in August. I write a lot of things I never intend to publish; sometimes because they're too raw or too negative or sound complain-y. That's what I assumed about this post. Every once in a while since August, I'd click on it and think about editing it for publishing or deleting it. Rereading it, I've never changed it until today. Today it seems like I'm supposed to post it. I don't really want to because it makes me sound needy and depressed and like a big fat baby. But, setting pride aside (not easily or happily), I'm putting it our there for the world (well, not really the world since only about 6 of you ever read this-but you get what I mean) to see as a reminder that perception is not always reality and in hopes that somehow it points someone to the True Rest Giver.

exhausted. i feel like i say that word 1000 times a day in my head. i wake up in the morning exhausted. i go to bed at night exhausted. going to work, driving kids around, doing house work, working at my shop, dealing with friends and clients and school and family...all exhausting. there's no rest. even my thoughts are exhausting. frustrated at the jealousy, envy, and bitterness in my own heart and mind, even the inside part of me is exhausted. come to me...that's what you say. and yet, i do and there's precious little rest for my soul when i do come. there's guilt and anxiety and more that i see that's not right in my life. but rest? no. it's elusive and fleeting like the colors of the rainbow. i don't want to be angry. i don't want to be jealous. i don't want to covet. i don't want to envy. yet every time i turn around those feelings are right there threatening to consume me. i see how they keep me from entering in and taking part. i feel so lonely. yet i know i am not alone. despite feeling you or not, you are there...the True Rest Giver. and although what i experience day to day doesn't seem restful, i know you're here. so i keep getting up and loving and working and schlepping kids and praying and dealing. and somehow, in all those things and the fact that i do them, there's a Rest that's beyond me.

**photo: not surprisingly, "The Blah" by Jack Kent, pictured above, was one of my favorites as a little girl...kinda gives you a scary insight into my mind...**

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Straight up

In the wee hours while the house sleeps and before the busyness of the day begins, I pray, all alone in the quiet. Not wanting to rush the morning, I keep the lights low and open the drapes. Staring out the french doors, the bare trees against the stark gray sky look forlorn and beautiful. Apple cinnamon tea warming my insides, something in the view strikes me as odd.
That tree across the street, it's not right. You can't see it when dressed in green, but the anomaly is obvious now. That big branch must have been lopped off at some point. The rest of the tree reaches out, organic and branchy, and looks natural. But right there, off the main trunk, the growth pattern changes.
Those branches, where the tree was cut, they're growing straight up.
Not out in twisted little y's like the rest of the tree.
Up from the place of the cut, like fingers reaching to the sky, the branches break form.
They're out of place. They don't look right. They mar the symmetry of the tree.
The branch was cut off but still alive. Greedy for sunlight, it grew straight up. It didn't know any better. It didn't know that to fit in, it should grow out- not up.
The branch shot vertically through the other branches, ignoring the pattern of the tree, searching for the life giving sun.
As I continue studying the tree, I see beauty in the oddity...

beauty in the desperation for light...
beauty in the reckless abandon of form...
Oh, to be that desperate; willing to risk conformity, willing to look out of place, willing to be the oddity to find light and life, willing to go from a place of pain, from a place pruning and shoot straight through all the crap to find the Light.

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.
~the prophet Isaiah

He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
~the prophet Isaiah

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. ~Paul to the Romans

Hear me, LORD, and answer me,
for I am poor and needy.
Guard my life, for I am faithful to you;
save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God; have mercy on me, Lord,
for I call to you all day long.
Bring joy to your servant, Lord,
for I put my trust in you.
~King David

**photos: I'd give my right arm (well, maybe that's extreme, ok, my wisdom teeth) for a decent you can tell, I took them both with our crappy camera. You can kinda see the's more obvious in real life. Also, because the morning I wrote this the batteries in the said crappy camera were dead, I took the pics the next day and the sky was no longer stark & gray. But hopefully you get the idea.**

Sunday, November 21, 2010


As I washed the dishes I thought of her. Her dishwasher ran well (unlike mine) yet she always did some dishes by hand. Truth be told that always irritated me.
She always washed. She liked washing.
I always dried. It was my job.
I remember what her hands looked like under the running water, smoothing over a pot to make sure she'd gotten all the gunk off. I remember the conversations shared over the steamy suds, white cotton towels and assorted pots & pans. Sometimes it was her childhood or child rearing years. Sometimes it was about her marriage. Sometimes about the lean years when dad's construction business struggled. It's one of the only times we talked...really talked. I don't know if that's because it was easier to discuss real things --not just the weather or day to day activities, but real stuff-- while you could look out the window and be busy or simply because it's the only time we had alone.
Today, as I talked to her softly and stroked her hair, I thought of those times we washed dishes together.
Only a few years ago we stood over the sink, watching the squirrel at the bird feeder and sharing life.
Only a few years ago she still made Sunday dinner and wrote birthday cards and tied quilts and went to Ladies Aid at church on Tuesdays.
Only a few years ago she talked about her life with dad and her boys.
Those days fade into memory as she sleeps in her chair covered with her soft velvety blanket.
Tears stained my cheeks as I remembered her hands...her busy, able hands that now hang limp. She can't read or walk or talk or enter in and lately she can't even stay awake. Her vacant, tired eyes barely stayed open long enough to focus when I whispered her name. She's not physically gone. But she--who she was--what made her her--is no longer... and we miss her.
Usually lasting at least an hour, today our visit only lasted a few minutes.
The kids cried. Brad looked sad. And I, well, I couldn't help stroking her gray hair and rubbing her arm and whispering to her and missing our times at the sink.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Showing up

Always unannounced, he shows up.

Dirty face, grubby clothes, great big smile, kind heart and oh, so troubled life.

One day it's his car. Another his failing marriage. Can he borrow 10 bucks? Can we store some of his stuff?

The next time it's issues with his mom or dad... or boss... or friend... or the law.

It may be different, but it's always something. Impulsive, rash and prone to being in the wrong place at the wrong time, he's often in trouble.

He knows we don't approve of most of his choices. I've been straight with him--blunt in fact--about his issues and how life's not about money or women or simply being happy.

Sometimes I wonder why he keeps showing up.

We don't lend him money. Sometimes we're able to answer his requests but not always. We've set clear boundaries.

But we do love him and try to keep showing kindness as we speak Truth.

Sometimes it's tempting to want to fix him and his problems. But he's not a project. We can't save him.

Sometimes I want to see some improvement or little sign that something we say or do makes a difference. But truthfully, I don't see any.

Sometimes I want to cut him loose.

Sometimes I want to give him a swift kick.

Sometimes I'm overwhelmed by his hurt and confusion.

Sometimes I don't want to love him.

But then I remember. Loving him, showing him grace, isn't an option, it's a necessity and a command.

So we keep loving. And he keeps showing up.

Showing up in exactly the same way I'm forever showing up at Mercy's door...dirty faced and shabbily dressed looking for Love, Grace, Healing and Mercy.

And time after time after time, He opens the door and loves me right where I am.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Break Time

Looking back over my last posts (most of my posts, actually) I see a strong melancholy thread. It's who I am, I can't deny it. But today instead of indulging my depressing inner workings, I'll write about my outer ones.

Wait...that doesn't sound right.

Anyway, I'll depart from routine and share a recipe with you...

For those of you who only know me in the cyber-world, you wouldn't know that I cook and bake for a living. I own a small (minuscule) coffee/bake shop in my tiny town. I'm not a chef or gourmet. I have no formal training. I'm a humble, down home cook of comfort least, to me they're comfort foods. I use real, fresh ingredients, butter being my favorite. Living by the "all things in moderation" maxim, I don't shy away from calorie laden, high fat foods. Cakes and breads are my specialty.

At home, when I have time, or when I'm stressed or bored or want to escape or relax, I bake. May sound weird to some of you, I know. But that's how I deal with life, I make food.

So, this morning, with the time change, I was gifted an extra hour to my day and I spent it baking. Yea me.

French silk pie is one of my favorites. But I've only made it once at home--years ago--before my 600watt Kitchen Aid stand mixer--before all my baking experience--before the myriad of recipes available on the web--before gray hairs and failing vision--before I realized that you don't HAVE to temper the eggs. I vaguely remember that the result of all my intensive labor was a tasty, but sadly average pie. Putting away hopes of a delicious homemade version, I've spent the last 15 years eating French Silk pie brought to me by my lovely mother from a Baker's Square in Minneapolis.

Well, for whatever reason, the desperate need for French Silk pie overtook me yesterday and I determined to give it another try. I purchased all the necessary ingredients, did an extensive* recipe search and set out at 7 a.m. this morning to fulfill my deepest chocolate longings.

I mentioned earlier that cakes and breads were my speciality. Not pie crusts. I can make a nice double pie crust, but single crusts are another animal altogether. They shrink. A lot. So, the crust doesn't look that great, but chocolate can cover a multitude of sins and the taste more than made up for the lack of beauty.

The recipe's not hard, but if you don't own a good stand mixer, don't even attempt it--your arm will go limp, numb and feel like falling off halfway into the process. I'd also suggest that, unless you're adept at pie crusts, you use a good store bought one. I'm a purist, and yet, next time, I might buy a crust.

After much research (*well actually--after I discounted all the recipes that used pudding, gelatin and/or cool whip {insert wretching sound and disgusted look on my face here}--only about 5 recipes remained) this is my combination of what looked like the best ingredients and methods combined. And just a little warning, I'm not always very I didn't measure the vanilla or sugar with measuring utensils, I guesstimated.

French Silk Pie:

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 oz unsweetened chocolate (melted and slightly cooled)
4 eggs
whipped cream for garnish

*Using the paddle, cream butter and sugar for a looooong time scraping the bowl long time I mean ten+ minutes.

*While you're waiting for the butter to cream and sugar to not be so grainy, separate the eggs and whip the egg whites to soft peaks (I used a little cream of tartar). Set aside.

*On stand mixer, switch to the whisk attachment and add vanilla; continue whipping the butter & sugar.

*Add egg yolks one at a time and beat about 3 minutes after each egg is added.

*Finally, fold in the egg whites until all the streaks are gone.

*Pour into a prepared crust and refrigerate a few hours.

*Garnish with REAL whipping cream (please, I beg you not to ruin this pie by using cool whip or some other disgusting fake food--buy whipping cream, whip it with a few tablespoons powdered sugar--it won't take that much extra time) and chocolate curls (vegetable peeler & a hershey's bar) ENJOY!!!!!


**eggs and butter must be room temperature--not softened in the microwave or warmed in hot water, but left out for several hours or overnight so they're room temp.

**This is the part where I have to warn you about eating raw eggs. But honestly, if you're not pregnant, under 5 or over 80 I believe you can safely eat this dessert. If you're still scared--well what can I say--don't make it.

**I looked for recipes with more chocolate, because, let's face it, we all need more chocolate...but our family likes a more "milk chocolate" taste so 2 oz is perfect. If you like dark chocolate you could increase it to 3 oz but I wouldn't go over that--it'll throw off the consistency.

I hope you've enjoyed our little break from my oft'times tiring musings. Enjoy the recipe and let me know if you try it!

Thursday, November 4, 2010


People chase all sorts of things...
Rare moments of clarity tell me I chase...
meaningful human contact
We're all so needy.
Desperate to fill up the voids in our hearts and lives.
God's right there.
Yet without His love through His people,
to those hurting, it's as if He doesn't exist.
You are needed today.

**reading Ecclesiastes this morning paired with Romans 12**

*photo: Will Ferrell, Stranger than Fiction