Sunday, December 30, 2012

Oh my, Francesca.........

I feel the need to preface this by saying we err on the conservative side when it comes to language (with the exception of thinking gross words are funny :), movies we show to our kids, computer time, video games (we don't have a system but Nico LOVES playing with friends and I know the day is coming for this technophobe mama), etc.  All this to say:


Francesca and I are playing Candyland the other day (FOR THE 100TH TIME THAT WEEK - I kid you not, this child will play Candyland OVER and OVER and OVER again.  It's actually pretty awesome to sit at the table and sip coffee, though.  Can't REALLY is about 1000 TIMES BETTER than playing "dog" which is her other FAVORITE thing in the world.  I have to "buy" her from under the kitchen table.  Then I have to feed her, walk her, pet her, put her to bed, make her a cage, etc.  It pretty much reinforces our FIRM, ROCK HARD decision to NEVER, EVER get a dog, though - they require SO MUCH CARE......and I don't even have to clean up Francesca's poop so I have it EASY when we play dog).....ANYWAY......we were playing Candyland and in her sweet and funny voice she says to me:

"I am going to rip you eyeballs and shove them in your mouth."

Ummmm, excuse me?

"I'm going to rip your eyeballs and shove them in your mouth, mama."

Shocked silence.

Oh my word.

I am not sure where even to begin.

Processing all the people that I WOULD DIE if she said this to.......meanwhile texting Liga the exact words my child said to me because part of me thinks this is HILARIOUS.

Mumble, mumble, some words about how we should NEVER, EVER, EVER say things like this and WHERE ON EARTH DID YOU GET THIS FROM?!?

The Candyland game goes on.

Then today:

"Mama, I am going to take your head and shove it down your throat."

FRANCESCA!!!  NO!!! You are NOT allowed to say things like that!!  Please.  No more.  Where do you get this from?!?

"I just teasin' mama.  I just kiddin'."

Well, no more teasing or kidding and a few more things said after that.....................

Remember my post "My Adventure".....well, this one HAS been different.  And how I love her so.  That spunk, that certainty, that fire all in this little one......and thankfully, she told me the other day that she is not getting married because she doesn't like the kissing :)  So don't worry mamas.....your boys are safe ............................. for now :)

And please know...........I hesitated for quite awhile before posting this.  Wondering if we live in a world, a time where blond little girls holding nerf guns and a grimace on their face were still cute and funny.  Wondering if my spunky little girl with a wild imagination was not, in fact, funny but an indication of dark times and dark things.  I wondered if it was time to shelve the nerf guns, to shelve making light of the words of little ones who are discovering new words and new ways to get the attention of the big ones they love and live with.  And I came to the conclusion that for now innocence prevails.  That laughter and light reign.  That blond little girls with fierce expressions are looking to engage their daddies and their brothers and not an enemy.   I KNOW who the enemy is.  And the enemy is where joy is, threatening to take it away.  The enemy is where laughter is, threatening to take it away. The enemy is where light is, wanting to envelop it but NEVER being able to.  And so in the face of and in the weeks after such darkness, such terror, such horror.........I cling to the light.  I cling to the joy.  I cling to the innocence.  I cling to the cross.  And I find joy.  I find laughter.  I find LIGHT in the moments given to me.  My prayer is that the families everywhere find moments, brief slivers of time where light begins to poke through the darkness.......even for a moment.

What has been your "moment" this past week?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Day After: Part Two

Today I am caught up in the beauty of many moments threaten to overwhelm this mother's heart, this woman's's the day after.  And I wrote about a day after just two months ago......a different kind of day after, a new beginning........the day you dread because you have to wake up and breathe again, walk again, live again.........and you don't want to.  It's too hard.  It's too much.

And here we are again.

Another day.

Two months later.

Not the day after a baby was lain to rest.

But the day after a baby was born to save.

The day after Love came down.

The day after Hope was brought to earth.

The day after Light entered the darkness.

So that we may have many days after...........

So that when we have to live and those we love don't and we don't know why and we can't stop the pain and we can't stop the tears and we can't stop the hurt and we can't stop the heart from aching we can cling to the promise of THIS DAY AFTER.




The day we were assured that our days do not end here.

And so today I embrace the day after.

As much as I ached with the day after months before, the year before, I ached not for myself but for my brother, for my sister-in-law and also for a warrior sent home and his sweet, grieving parents.

But today.

This day.

I rejoice.

I rejoice in the loveliness of this day, this beautiful, beautiful snow, this family God has blessed me with, this warm house filled with the goodness of the day after Christmas.

But more than that.

I rejoice in the many days after this world.  I rejoice in the days I will spend holding my niece, after sweet Adalyn has been held and squeezed and hugged and loved by her amazing, always waiting parents.  I rejoice in the days I will witness Owen running with his cousins, after being held by his mother and father - whose arms have been waiting, too.  I rejoice in the lightness of those days.  I rejoice in the promise of those days.  I rejoice.  And all because..........




Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Just In Case You Were Wondering.....

I love you.

Yeah, I am talking to being the handsome, wonderful man I married.

Have I told you that lately?

That I truly love you?

That love is what holds me steady, that brings me back, that keeps me sane in this crazy world in which we live.   Because of your love I can imagine and believe in a greater Love.  It doesn't seem inconceivable that there is One who loves me beyond all comprehension, One who is fighting for me, who is longing for me, One who died for me...........because you show me what that kind of love looks like every day.  You show our kids that kind of love.

And yeah, you don't always get it right, you lose your cool, you make mistakes, you aren't perfect but I know that His love is perfect.

And you are a reflection of that love.

And so when things get weird and crazy and start to feel unsafe and out of control and the world is sent spinning and careening and there is hate and violence and so much arguing and talking and back and forth.........I love that you are here.  Right here.  Next to me.  Loving me.  Anchoring me.  Holding me.

Thank you.

I treasure every day with you because every day with you is a gift.

I can't quite believe that eight short, quick as a wink years later I could love you more than I did on the day I married you but I do.  So much more.  For on that day when two became one it was just the beginning.  As the years go by, faster and faster they fly, the more we become intertwined - our hearts, our lives, our dreams.

I can't wait to see what this next year brings.

Love you.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Oh crap......

I am looking at my children these days, these heady days of playing games (actually fun games not annoying games like Chutes and Ladders), building lego structures, reading books and cooking together and I can't help but think.......

Oh crap.

I like these days.  No, I LOVE these days...........even the days when I hide in the bathroom and call Liga and say I CANNOT PLAY FOR ONE SECOND LONGER and then I can laugh and get out my frustrations and I can go back in the game and play and be and spend time with these precious souls on loan to me.

And so oh crap.

I am no longer looking anxiously forward - when will we ever sleep again, can I have my body back (yeah, it's never coming back......the dream has been deferred), will they ever stop needing me EVERY SINGLE SECOND ON THE DAY, when will they feed themselves, dress themselves, go to the bathroom by themselves?  They do that.  All that and more.  They are these cool little people that are actually really fun to talk to and hang out with and do nails with and create stuff with.

And so now I look at them and see how quickly they are growing and how quickly they are becoming more and more who God created them to be and it's delightful and it's amazing and it's oh so scary.

I want that pause button.  I want to freeze them at this point, even little Francesca who tries my patience like no other but oh how she makes me laugh and oh how she loves life (and as I am typing this I think this is probably how Joe would describe me :)

This December we have been hibernating and it's been awesome.  We have spent more time as a family then ever before - just hanging out, watching movies (again, movies we actually want to watch - who knew Cinderella 2 could be so darn good?!? We were all glued to the tv :), playing games (Zooreka! has got to be one of my favorite games now, AWESOME kids game!), baking, doing crafts, building and having quiet time (ahhh, blessed 7:00 quiet time with our bibles and journals, doesn't last long but it's a great space in the day).  And as I was loving this time and basking in our family time and the ages and stages of our family right now............I was reminded.

Oh crap.

I was reminded of a little phrase, a thought thrown out in a sermon or talk or sometime when our preacher said that whatever you are rich in God is going to ask you to share or give up or give away....something along those lines (SO not a detail person, can you tell?  but I get the general idea....)  And so before when I would hear this I would think oh yes, we live in a BLESSED, RICH, WEALTHY BEYOND WEALTHY country where we pretty much have MORE THAN WE COULD EVER NEED so here take our money.  Look!! LOOK!!  We are such good people and good Christians - we have Compassion children, give my husband a compassion/world vision catalogue and he is like a kid in a candy store - click, click, click goes the mouse and kids have food, families have chickens, etc., etc.  (And by the husband is a ROCK STAR at giving, truly.  His generosity never ceases to amaze me and I am truly impressed by his mad money skills - how he turns a paycheck into MORE THAN ENOUGH for us and MORE THAN ENOUGH for others......I am in awe.  If it were me I would spend a WHOLE LOT MORE on me and not so much on others but Joe is a better man and is constantly showing me how much we have and how fun it is to give) We try to be generous with all we have..........because we are rich, right?


And no.

We are pretty wealthy compared to the world.

But in the world we live in - Canton, Ohio, United States of America - we aren't exactly the wealthiest. In fact we qualify for reduced lunches and help on utility bills (which we don't take because truly we do have more than enough, so much more than we need).  But what we do have that isn't exactly in abundance these days is FAMILY.

It's something I recognized this month, in particular.  I sent a halfway irritated text to our preacher man saying I didn't appreciate his insight (isn't that wonderful when you go to such a small church that you can just text your preacher when you don't appreciate his insight, I am sure that he is SO VERY THANKFUL that I always weigh in on his preachings and teachings :)  I will share my money (because I am still not sure where it's being kept and how much we have exactly) and I will share my things (because I don't really become attached to my things - this HORRIFIES my eldest daughter and my husband and well, my son, too.  I can't tell you the number of times I find them going through the trash and pulling things out....MOM! HOW COULD YOU THROW THIS AWAY!?!?  Oh, I'm sorry I didn't realize that you wanted that scrunched up piece of paper/broken toy/rubber appliance ring/book/etc.  I am SO SORRY.) and I will try to share my time, which I am getting much better about, I think.

Ummm, but I would really rather keep my family to myself.

If that's ok with you.

Ummm, it's not?


But I like when it's JUST US.  I like the games and the building and the quiet and the peace and the love and the ease of us.  Didn't you catch the beginning of the post?  Time is flying by and I don't want to lose any by........well, by.........ummm.......I was just going to type something that wouldn't reflect well on me so I stopped.  But you know.........other people.........well, when other people are around it's messy and complicated and chaotic and LOUD and it requires me to share my precious ones.  What will happen if they don't have ME playing and reading and building with them?  Won't the world stop turning?

Oh crap.

I know.

I know.

I'll work on it.

For right now I will enjoy December and the sickness and forced captivity which is actually ok most of the time because I get to do what I want and it gets to be just US (so says the leader of Family Village where our vision is to strengthen families and be a family to others connected to LoveCanton..............which I think I have been trying to do but I am not sure how much I have been including my ENTIRE family and maybe God has been speaking to me a bit about that this December season............)

And then in January..........well, crap.

I'll get on it.

I promise.

What do YOU have to let go of in the new year?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What I Want To Say

What I want to say is different from what I am suppose to say..........

Today I sat and I saw,

I meant to read and waste some time on the internet and instead I closed my eyes........

I saw a throne.

I saw a clear, cold, hard surface.

I saw an expanse of metal, cool and clear to the touch.

I lay on that expanse, before the throne.

I saw a throne on which the Almighty sat.

I bowed down, on that expanse of cool, clean surface.

There was relief and breathing deep.

But He said,


And so I stood.

I stood and golden arms swept up, they swept up in an arc and formed a circle in the air,

And in that golden space a light shot forth........

I was encircling a light that sprang forth from the throne.

The bolts of light held forth birds that spread from the light.....................they spread their wings and flew from the brilliant light...............

Then, almost at command, the one who arose, took the golden arc and BAM.

The arc came down, the one that arose swing the arc down and slammed the circle to the ground.

The golden circle, filled with light and the birds that arose, was grounded and the light rose above.

The light rose above for all to see.

It was grounded in the certainty of Whom it came from.

It was shining for all to see.

It was reaching up to Who it was for.

All glory for Him.

All light for Him.

All focus on Him.

He is coming.

This season is for Him.

Prepare the way..............................

Monday, December 3, 2012


Dang you, Mr. Debellis, I am sure I spelled that wrong, I still can't believe you were right.

You said at a meeting a few months back that people heard from God, from the Holy Spirit even through media, through tv shows and such.  Yeah, that's silly.

Until it's not.

Until one of the most favorite posts of all time was written after viewing a movie, a post that moved it's audience of one to tears.  For that post was written for my brother, for his wife, for me........but it's a favorite of everyone who comes to this place.


I was wrong.

God uses EVERYTHING to speak His truth, His words, His power.

And tonight as I sat with my mom, my lovely mom who I treasure more than what can I say?  Except that to return to home whenever I want is such a gift.  A gift from my husband who gives me the time and a gift from my parents who stay close and stay dear.

But tonight as I sat with my mom and watched "The Voice" and watched a man, a young man, pour his  heart out on stage singing...........LOVE ME, LOVE ME...............

And I thought...........isn't that what we all want?

Isn't that what we all want?

Isn't that what we all crave?


See who I am, see what I do, see what I go through, see, see, SEE, SEE ME.



Why do we not realize that there is One who sees?

One who doesn't need us to dress up, make up, send up unrealistic views of who we are?

One who sees who we are and LOVES BIG, LOVES REAL, LOVES WHERE WE ARE AT.

I want you to know that love.

I don't want to find you on stage singing your heart out, looking for love in front of millions, beggin for acceptance when you have already found acceptance and a LOVE GREATER THAN ONE YOU HAVE EVER KNOWN.





I love you but my love can't compare.

Turn to Him.

Turn to Him.

Stop seeking Love in all the wrong places.............on stages, from your children, from your friends, from your to be an audience of Him.

Love Him.

Let Him love you.

He does.

He loves you so much.

Never doubt, always believe.

I love you.

But in such a smaller way than He does.......................

The Shattering

Yesterday I sat in my pew, flinching at the powerful words of a preacher man.  At times I closed my eyes because I didn't want to see, didn't want to hear, didn't want to feel the blows of truth to my heart. My pew grows more uncomfortable as the weeks pass because God is convicting me of things that are growing me and changing me.

And it's odd what is said is oftentimes different from what is heard.  After a service filled with worship and preaching and teaching, I will talk with others about what was said and we all hear different things.........such is the power of God to speak through others and to others using the same words to speak to His people in different ways.

And so today I want to share with you what I heard and what I saw.....................

More and more I am sure that NOTHING can be done alone.

More and more I am sure that there is power in MANY.

More and more I am sure that God is gathering His people.

More and more I am sure that idols and other gods will be struck down.

More and more I am sure that a holy light will shine forth from the many who follow God.

More and more I am sure that words on a page written long ago are there for all people and you don't need fancy language or years of study to understand that Jesus is Lord and that what is written carries simple truths.

More and more I understand grace and it's place in my life.

More and more I understand that if we are not united, together, by an uncommon God then we are limiting our worship and service to Him.

I heard the powerful words of the preacher man proclaiming one true throne, dismissing the thrones that we all have seated others on.  He spoke of picturing thrones above our head.........who is on that throne, who do you fear, upon whom do you place too much importance, who do you never say no to?  ((flinch))  Yes, I have seated others on that throne.  I see them in my mind and I see the thrones that I am seated on in other's minds.  I see how I have encouraged my placement on those thrones and I see how I have elevated those around me to heights only reserved for God.

I close my eyes.  I close my eyes after the sermon, lost in the music that fills the sanctuary and I see us all, as a people.  I see the thrones above all of our heads, the many other gods and idols sitting upon those tiny thrones.

And I see the thrones being splintered and obliterated, smashed to bits.

The thrones of the idols and gods of those around me are being destroyed, they are being wiped out, replaced by a clear path to God, the One who sits on the true throne.

And imagine the POWER and STRENGTH and MIGHT of all those in the sanctuary uniting all their love and their energy and light into worshipping GOD.

Can you see it?  Can you see the light finally being able to stream up?  Not being blocked, obstructed by our false gods but unfiltered, undiluted, PURE light streaming and meeting all together at The Source.

The windows of the sanctuary blow out, shattered by the strength of such worship.  I see the doors fling open, unable to restrain the power of the pure worship of the people within.  I have the thought that we can't afford new windows!  How can I see this happening in my mind's eye and wish with all my heart to feel that power, to see windows shattering before the power of all God's people worshipping with unfiltered hearts.

Then I think...........

How can we afford NOT to?

I have read of miracles, of signs and wonders.

I have believed.

I am ready to witness, firsthand.

Or maybe not ready............never, truly, ready for the POWER of GOD, what a fierce and fearful thing...........but I know it is coming.

Get ready for the shattering.......................

The shattering of hearts, of windows, of convictions, of long-held beliefs and..............


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Good Intentions :)

Today I came home from church fired up with words, so many words that I wanted to write and preach and speak into life here in this space.  I WAS SO EXCITED!

But I have three kids.

Who were hungry.

And one had a birthday party that she had to be at by 1:30.

So a quick lunch was made and eaten together.

And the other had wanted to read books this morning but we didn't have time because we were busy building legos, then making cards, then getting ready and then into the car for church.

So we read books.

Then we did puzzles.

Then we watched Dora because reading books and doing puzzles on little sleep is enough to induce sleep.

So there was snuggling and Dora watching but no sleep.

Then a promise to keep to a friend, a pick-up after that and home to make dinner (does anyone else find it RIDICULOUS how often people need to eat?!?  I might have mentioned to a friend once that this is evidence that we are right in using He instead of She because I feel certain if it was a She instead of a He we would only need to eat once a week and be done with it.......that, I am sure, is wrong on so many theological levels but I feel the need to throw it out there........)

Family movie night - Star Wars (Nico's birthday party was last night and it was Star Wars themed - games, pinata, cake and all........I was quite proud of myself.......well, until the "Pin the Light Saber on Luke" game was played.............Joe was was ENTIRELY inappropriate.  Let's just say that my very manly looking Luke, hands on hips and legs spread, left himself WIDE OPEN for an inappropriate light saber placement............)

It was a great day.  Relaxing.  Pretty easy (except for the NONSTOP squirming ALL OVER MOMMY and NONSTOP talking during Star Wars - oh my word.  Joe just tells me to make them stop but I feel I should ENJOY THESE EXCRUCIATINGLY WONDERFUL MOMENTS OF CLOSENESS while I can :)

But now it's 9:30 and the words that I was all fired up over at the beginning of the day are gone.  

Well, not entirely........I have started a few posts and then not finished them tonight because it just doesn't feel right.  I know that one day, soon, I will come back to them and finish them and the Holy Spirit will finish the thoughts and fill the page with words and the thinking and the typing and the writing won't seem so hard.  It will just flow and come from a different place other than my own mind and hands.

But today I was a mom.

A mom who loves Jesus.

And so I love my kids the best I can - my squirmy, LOUD, crazy, lego creatin', book readin', forever eatin' kids that God has blessed me with.

And if, perhaps, you are a mom that has been flooded :) with craziness today and not found your peace or your words or your space to be on fire for God.................remember this:

Today YOU were a mom.

A mom who loves Jesus.

And you loved your kids the best you could - your squirmy, LOUD, crazy, always movin', never stoppin', forever eatin' kids that God has blessed YOU with.

Tomorrow we'll be holy and MIGHTY and strong.

Today let Him be holy and MIGHTY and strong as He loves His squirmy, LOUD, crazy, always movin', never stoppin', forever cookin' moms who have been blessed and LOVED by Him.

Love you all.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Home Makers

Each house is a space to fill, each family a blank canvas on which to create, a story which is about to begin and we, women, we are the Home Makers........

I love this term - Homemaker - I hate how it's been downplayed and made to be a quaint little adjective to describe those of us who don't hold jobs outside the home.

We are all Home Makers.

Home Makers have outside jobs or only the job they have at home.

Home Makers have no kids, while some have 20 kids.

Home Makers eat Wonderbread, others make their own bread.

Home Makers sew or not so much....... :)

Home Makers have clean floors or have someone else clean their floors.

Home Makers live in the poorest of conditions and the richest of conditions - their homes differing in size but not in importance.

I have been in so many houses and have seen the imprints of the ones who make the home.  I have seen homemade rule charts with lines scribbled upon the paper, evidence of little ones making their own rules :)  I have seen rooms filled with the artwork of budding artists.  I have seen beautiful moments frozen in time hung upon the walls.  I have tasted the goodness of meals cooked with love, meals cooked in haste, meals cooked amidst chaos.  I have heard the rich sounds of a mother's laugh, the shrieks of children, the musical sound of favorite books being read.  I have listened as hearts are poured out, hearts that cry out - wondering at their inadequacy, are they enough?  Oh how these women worry, wonder if they live up to their own expectations, the world's expectations.

And as they worry...........I stand in wonder.

I stand in awe of what they have made - these home makers, family creators, story writers.

I look at the evidence of their love, their time, their sacrifices, their very lives.

I soak in the warmth and ease of their homes.

I eat and enjoy the fruits of their labor - whether cooked by them or bought by them, always served with love.

I see their family, strong with the bonds they have created.

I see beautiful, beautiful children - not perfect children but children that reflect the love that they have been shown.

Today embrace the beauty of the blank canvas - yours to fill with whatever words you wish.  You are a home maker, family creator, story writer.

What is the story YOU are writing today?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

I Will Live Among You

Zechariah, are going to do me in, again you led me to tears today.

Again, it was in the midst of the day, children downstairs watching the last of their show, Christmas tree lit, dinner steaming, table set and house quiet........what to do?

Run around and try to clean one more thing?  Organize one more area?  More laundry?

And I remember the moment from before, the cascading waters from the Source of Life.........and I sit.

With Zechariah.

"Shout and be glad, O Daughter of Zion.  For I am coming, and I will live among you, " declares the Lord.  "Many nations will be joined with the Lord in that day and will become my people.  I will live among you and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you."
                                  - Zechariah 2:10-11

In this season, this season before the birth, this season of hope and celebration and anticipation, I hear His cry.  He is coming.

He is coming.

He is coming.

This season is not only about anticipating the birth but anticipating the return.

Those words electrify me......


But until then.................

I will live among you, Jesus living in me, will live among all people.

I close my eyes and think of my community, my people, those I have come to know, those I have come to love, those I think on when I am in prayer and go about my day.

I see them as points of light throughout this city..............

Liga, Ryan, Rachel, Chris, Jason, Suzi, Doug, Alysa, Joe, Lindsey, Sarah, Nic, Shonda, Ben, Eric, Jani, Adrienne, Ryan, Dustin, Erin, Wendy, Jay, Nicole, John, so many more points of light...............

Connected, burning bright on their own but once connected making a burning path of love, light and truth.............a constellation formed by the Lord Almighty........who has come to live among us all, in us, through us.

Today I SHOUT.

Today I am GLAD.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Return to Me

I sit in the darkened living room, hearing the voices of the many children in the basement...........dinner is simmering on the stove, the Christmas tree is lit and I sit.

I open my bible to Zechariah, remembering the promise found in the pages I read last year at this time.  I have but ten minutes but I long to make those minutes count.  So often lately the minutes have gone by too quickly and been filled with too much or too little of what counts.

I read.........and my eyes begin to fill.

"This is what the Lord Almighty says: 'Return to me', declares the Lord Almighty, 'and I will return to you', says the Lord Almighty."
                  - Zechariah 1:3

Yes, Lord, yes...........I need to return to you.

How did You know?

These pages, filled with words written so long ago, come alive in those 10 minutes.  My heart soars as I read the promise..........return to me and I will return to you.

I close my eyes and think of how dry I have been, have felt.  And it's not enough that I have had time to sit and read or time to sit and be, I have not used that time to be with Him and I feel that dryness in my heart, my soul.  I close my eyes and I think back to when I was younger and used to sit in pizza shops with friends or restaurants with family.  When your drink came, with your straw......what did you do?  We always tried to make sure the paper the straw was wrapped in was scrunched up into the tiniest bit of space possible.  Then we would take the tip of our straw dip it into our drink and one drop of liquid would cause the paper to spread out and return to it's normal size.  It seemed to be a pretty cool trick.

I needed that drop.  I was that paper, shrunken and dry.

Yes, I will return.  I am here.  Are You?

My eyes still closed, waiting for that drop........and I experienced the goodness of the God I love.

For I saw an avalanche of water pouring out on me.  Fresh, beautiful blue waters pouring out and over me...........putting to shame the drop I was expecting.  What kind of God do I think I serve - a stingy, hard-hearted, unloving God?

And I remember back to reading the passage just the minute before.........when I stopped a moment to question why it said "Lord Almighty" three times in just one verse.  And it served to remind me.  It reminded me of the God I serve............the LORD ALMIGHTY.

Would the LORD ALMIGHTY dole out one drop at a time?

Or would the LORD ALMIGHTY send cascading, thirst-quenching, life-restoring waters to rain down on those who return to Him?

And the timer rang.

The muffins were done, the children still playing,making noise and needing to be called to the table, the soup needed to be ladled, nine plates waiting to be filled..............and I was ready.  No longer the dried up piece of paper I was before I sat.  I was filled.  I had returned to the One awaiting my arrival, expecting always to return to me.

Thank you, LORD ALMIGHTY, for Your word which is never stale, for Your waters which never run dry and Your Love which never goes cold.

Friday, November 9, 2012



Hey you!

Yeah, I am totally talking to you, the one reading the computer/ipod/ipad/whatever screen right now.

I know you.

I know what you are thinking........sometimes.  I know that yesterday when I said BELIEVE that you might have said NO.  Or you might have said ok, thinking NO WAY.  That to believe in God is one thing but to believe in YOU is another.

And that's ok.

It's hard to do sometimes.

We read books and magazines and blogs and browse pinterest and go to church and go to mom's groups and go to our friend's houses and live life surrounded BY AMAZINGLY AWESOME PEOPLE THAT WE WILL NEVER BE.

Ummm..........because you're not suppose to be like the others.

You are YOU.

So today I will believe in YOU and your AMAZINGLY AWESOME talents/skills/nature if you will do me a favor................

If you have a hard time believing in YOU or even if you don't.....if you KNOW how AMAZINGLY AWESOME you believe in someone else.............


Seriously.  Today.

Go up to SOMEONE and recognize their skills, their hard work, their talent, their gifting or EVEN BETTER recognize who they could be or are moving to be.......and ENCOURAGE THE CRAP OUT OF THEM.  Be their personal cheerleader or be that crazy parent/fan that will stop at nothing to support them...................EVEN IF THEY ARE LOSING.

Do you know the only reason I have this blog?

Adrienne, Jani and Ashley told me I should................AND KEPT TELLING ME.  They believed in me when I didn't believe in me.  How embarrassing would it be to HAVE A BLOG?  That might mean I think I have something to say and that ANYONE would want to read what I say.  Ugh.  Horrifying thought.  But they kept saying it.  So I figured it MUST be a good idea if they thought it was.

I believe now.  I believe I have something to say and that someone wants to read it.

But only because someone else believed first.

Jason and Suzi said we could start a village.  Ummmm, no we can't.  We don't, like, KNOW STUFF.  They said, oh you're fine.  So we said ok.........RELUCTANTLY.  So we "started" a village thinking ok, we can just invite some people over to eat and then at some point Suzi and Jason will tell us what to do and explain things to us and we will have training and all that.

Ummmm, no.

I think about 25 people came to our house the first time AND THEY NEVER LEFT.  Well, they left that day but they kept coming back and bringing more people.  And, yeah, we have had some meetings and some diagrams but never the "training" we thought we were going to have.

But they believed we could and since we assumed they know WAY MORE than we do, we believed.

And now we have a village, Family Village.  AND I LOVE IT.  AND IT CHALLENGES ME.  IT GROWS ME.


So you see how it works?

Because you believe.........they will believe.........eventually.

It could take some time.

Ummm, so you better get started.................I mean it, right now.


And, yeah..........I TOTALLY believe in YOU.

Thanks for believing in me.

Love you all.


Thursday, November 8, 2012


God has really been working on my heart these past few years.........preaching grace and beauty, love and kindness.  I know that I don't always get it right and if you are one reading this thinking my, my I certainly didn't see that from her on this day or that day.........I apologize.  I know there are times when my impatience or selfishness or just plain weariness get the best of me.

In general I think I am the type of person to see the beauty in all people, I am constantly astounded by how amazing people are, how encompassing their beauty is.

Then I come home.

I get lost in my own head.

And I decide to get out my Jesus bat.

Do you have one of these?

I bet you do.

Some people use them on themselves and some people turn them outward to others.

I would say when I was first a Christian I turned mine outward.  I was in that phase of life where I was ON FIRE and wanted everyone to see what I saw.  I wanted everyone to believe what I believed and I was CERTAIN of many, many things..........oh my, I am not sure any one who didn't know Jesus saw Jesus in me back then.  I don't know.  My Jesus bat was swinging wide and often, a bit indiscriminate in who I hit or hurt.   Again..........apologizes to anyone who was hurt by my certainty.  Grace and love, grace and love........thank you, Lord, for preaching grace and love.

Now more than a few years later - years of reading my bible, praying, attending church, going to meetings/studies...........I have information, I have a solid foundation regarding Who I love and am serving, I have a relationship with Jesus but I have more of an appreciation for the gray areas and I have more questions than easy answers.............and that's ok.

So I am in this place where I put my big old Jesus bat in a closet when company comes or when I go out but then I come home.

I get lost in my own head.

And I decided to get out my Jesus bat.

And I begin to take swings.

Who are YOU?

What do you know?

You are a failure.

You can't do this.

You are so selfish.

Why didn't you do THIS today?

Why DID you do this today?

Did you just hear yourself? That was dumb.

Did you just hear yourself? Everyone else did.

And yeah, that was wrong, silly, not important, stupid sounding.

And I sit and write these words, as I type them.........I cry.  Seeing the secret words in my mind, the fuel behind that bat, this bat that most DEFINITELY DOES NOT COME FROM JESUS, makes me cringe and feel sick to my stomach.  And everything in me that preaches grace and love to others is screaming at myself.....DON'T BELIEVE THE LIES.  You, too, have this grace and love at your fingertips............EVERYBODY DOES.

And today I want to believe that.

I want to believe that someone's salvation doesn't hinder on MY words, but on God's words.

I want to believe, truly believe, in my heart that it's ok to make mistakes, that it's ok for someone to see ME and not a perfect replication of Jesus.........I am just me, who God made me to be and He loves me..................He loves me so much..........scratched up, dented, broken me.  My words, my life NEVER have to be perfect.

I am, today, going to try to put that bat away.

Can you join me?

Can you bring out into the Light the lies that fuel YOUR Jesus bat, that cause you to beat yourself or others over and over for their inadequacies and their mistakes and the lies that they believe about themselves?

Can we give Grace freely, just as we have FREELY received it from Him?

Can we give Love freely, just as we have FREELY received it from Him?

What if we took this Gift and made it our own, believed it, lived it, breathed it?

Would it be easier to give away?


Friday, November 2, 2012


Sometimes there is no joy.

Joy eludes you.

Joy is lost.

Joy has disappeared.

And you are drowning..................

And we fight that feeling, those of us who are joy-givers, joy-seekers, joy-creators........because who are we if we do not have joy?  What is our faith based on if not joy?  What is our life full of if not joy?


This drowning is especially painful for those of us who live in joy.

And so we fight it.  We kick and scream and fight against this drowning and we feel desperate and without foundation.   And there is God and scripture and friends and family and prayer and we wonder why do we still feel this way?  Is it okay to feel this way?  And inside our head is every bible verse ever quoted to us and every prayer ever uttered and thought of knowing truth and what that everlasting, new bodies, being reunited one day, living life with JESUS.


I want my joy back.

I want my baby back.

I want my life back.

And so we fight, we want desperately just to breathe that air that seems out of reach and up above.

But what I want you to hear, what I want you to

Today I want you to hear, I want you to know that it's ok.

That to not be joyful is ok.  This doesn't speak to your faith, to who you are, to who you will be, it speaks of what is happening right now.  And the more you fight it, the more you kick and scream and rebel against this sorrow and disbelief the more tired and defeated you will become.

Let yourself sink into it, sink into the pain and the loss and the sorrow.........let the waters envelop you, cry every tear, scream out every thought, rage but don't fight not having joy.  It will come again.  It's who He made you to be...............but not all the time, every day, every moment.  It's ok.

For now float along, let yourself drift, be carried along by others, by Him.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


Today was a rainy, dreary, cold, delightful, full of surprises, joyous Halloween day.

We piled on the clothes, under and over our costumes, donned hats and gloves and coats and all piled in the van.  We have a method to our trick-or-treating and we always go BIG first........Grandma and Grandpa's house with a quick visit next door to Dean and Diane's.

This year we started out even BIGGER than usual with a visit from Grandma Goats who braved the weather with us...........and brought big treat bags for each child.

So we traveled three streets over and gathered BIG candy bars, packs of stickers, packs of Oreos, fruits snacks, pretzels and more candy..........and that was just at those two houses.

Then onto other houses down the street with a stop at the corner house who also always has BIG candy bars.

Two streets back and we arrive at Zia Maria's house where she stuffed surgical gloves full of chocolate and goodies for each of the kids.

And it was on the way back to our street that it hit me...........our bags were FILLED to overflowing and we barely went anywhere............everyone who we had visited and who lived close FILLED us to overflowing-with love, with candy, with goodies, with blessings.

And that's how I feel about our life right now..........FILLED to the point of overflowing.

We are so BLESSED by our community, by our family, by our friends.  This day was a reminder of that, the whole day.

At 10:30 this morning we stood in a room as people filled it.........and every time someone walked in I felt a little zing of happiness, these are my people..........Rachel, Winston, James, Liga, Ryan, Luke, Gavin, Livvie, Annie, Suzi, JJ, Caris, Sam, Harper, Scott, Corey, Sarah, Nic, Ian, Mae, Jack, Andrea, Stephanie and on and on.   These are the people who fill me to overflowing - with love, with blessings, with encouragement.

At 3:00 we begin our trek through the rain and pursuit of FREE CANDY.......and we meet along the way grandma goats, grandma, grandpa, Diane, Megs, Kevin, Amy, Zia Maria, Nanny, Jeff, Tootie, Paul, Inta, Mackenzie, Molly, Rick and on and on.  These are neighbors and family - old and new - who fill me to overflowing - with love, with blessings, with kindnesses, with comfort.

At 5:30 we sit down to dinner with friends who first came three years ago on Halloween day........dragged by their grandmother across the street.  These same friends are now the ones we see every Sunday, most Wednesdays, random mornings and text or talk to almost daily.  Who knew?  And in the midst of chicken noodle soup, fresh tomatoes, cheese and bread we talk, we laugh and solve fights between the children.  To end the day we play hide and go seek all around the house.  I am filled to overflowing - with food and laughter and love and blessings.

THANK YOU LORD..............for candy and community.

THANK YOU LORD..............for women holding each other up in prayer.

THANK YOU LORD..............for children's voices singing out praises to You.

THANK YOU LORD.............for rainy Halloweens.

THANK YOU LORD...............for a house filled with running, crazy children.

THANK YOU LORD.............for a life filled to the point of overflowing.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

In Pursuit......

I chase after a lot of things...................

A clean house.

Godly, obedient, joyful children.

A laundry basket for dirty clothes that is always empty.

People who like me.

People I like.


Well-cooked meals.

A house that appears to be organized.

A reputation as a mom, a wife, a woman.

A place in our church, someway to give, to matter to the body.

I feel a little sad as I look at that list............even though it's an honest list and nothing on that list would be looked at as bad.  But I wonder why I choose with such fervor and anxiety things that will always elude me.  It takes so much effort, so much worry and so much time to pursue those things ALL THE TIME.  I woke up this morning and I felt anxious.  This past week has been a good week and I have been involved in good things, things that matter, things that I actually love to do.  But a lot of those things have been detail-oriented.  I am NOT a detail-oriented person but I am a person who wants things done right and done well.  So all my energy this week has gone into making sure each detail is right, everything is on time, goes smoothly and gets done in the correct manner.......I know, I am probably making you anxious right now.  And this morning I woke up and realize oh my gosh, there is another thing that has to get done for tomorrow and it's not planned and I don't know what I am doing and the house is a mess and I need to make meals and cheese and bread and I need to get dressed today and I want to play with the kids and I want to read books with them and I want to just lie in bed with my husband and I want to get this book made for the children's lesson tomorrow and so on and so on until I was worked into a frenzy......all in my mind, of course, because it was still 7:30am and I wasn't even out of bed yet.

But then............I turned my mind to the one achievable pursuit...............

The One who sets my mind at peace, who calms me, who loves me, who never asks me to be more than I can be at any one time..................

I saw myself laying down.................there was a gentle breeze blowing and the day was easy, those days where the sun is gentle, the air is warm and the sky is a never ending blue.  As I was laying there a hammock appeared and wrapped it's way around me and began to gently rock me in the breeze.  Aahhhh, I wanted to lay there forever.  It seems as if all those things that I was formerly pursuing in my mind were pushed aside as I pursued the One that pursues me.

As I lay there...........soaking in the calm, another came to lay beside me...........Joe was there and together, wrapped around one another, we rocked and swayed to the gentle beat of His heart.

Thank you for never letting me go, for reminding me what matters..........and in your gentle way giving me the idea for the children's lesson, for the day and restoring order to my frantic mind.  May my first pursuit always be You.

Friday, October 26, 2012

And Back to Real Life...........

8:30 am - We are due out of the house at 9:05.  This means that in order to get out of the driveway we should be putting shoes on at 8:55 due to the vortex that exists in our shoe room that always sucks at least 5-10 minutes out of the day..........the amount of time it sucks out is directly related to how frenzied your voice sounds.......the more frenzied, the more time that is literally sucked right out of the room.

8:31 am - We are all sitting in the living room talking to my dad who stopped by to drop some things off.  I am in my bathrobe with wet hair, the kids are all in their jammies.  Fia's lunch has yet be packed. We have company coming at some time after 9:15.............the clock is ticking.

8:32 am - I am listening to my kind father talking because I really do enjoy his company and the children love him and I love visitors but we are now down to 23 minutes and today is Fia's class party for fall (otherwise known as the Halloween party but we are not allowed to call it the Halloween party because Halloween is now taboo and that's ok if you don't celebrate Halloween but I now trip up every time I reference the party because fall party just sounds weird to me.........I know, I know....I am getting over it........growing up and moving on...).  So right now I am thinking I must actual get dressed today and pretend that I get dressed more than 3x a week.  I must wear something appropriate and slightly stylish (although I hesitate to use that word because I have NEVER been stylish but I mean more than a t-shirt and jeans........)  I should dry my hair and not just wear it in some sloppy thing at the back of my head and I should put on make-up.  Ok......ok........ok...........

8:33 am - Still sitting, now Nico wants to read a book..............still no one my head I am screaming OH. MY. GOSH. LETS GET A MOVE ON.......but I want to be a good mom who invests time in her childrne right after they wake up so I read the fast as I can........

8:35 am - Dad has gone. kids are playing.......time to get myself dressed............where are my jeans.......the one pair without holes, with the knees still slightly the same color as the rest of the jeans......hmmmm, not at the top of my closet........

8:36 am - Maybe downstairs in the laundry.....hopefully the clean pile.......ummm, no not there......oh, no maybe the dirty..............(digging, digging, digging) NO.....argh.......ok, back upstairs.....

8:37 am - (Throw, dig, throw, dig) All the laundry comes out of my dirty clothes basket......yes, there they are at the bottom of the clothes basket.........(sniff, sniff) nope, no nasty small...phew......oops, must have last worn these on a baking day...........scritch, scratch, spit, scritch, scratch, spit.......ok, good as new.

8:40 am - I am now dressed........I don't look so bad, shoot.......lost 30 seconds looking in the mirror, amazed at how one can look when they put on actual clothes and jewelry before 3:00pm.........ok, time to dry hair and put on make-up.....................pick out the kids outfits.......FIA! FIA! FIA!  Come get dressed!  FRANCESCA!  Come on back.

8:50 am - Ok, we are going to make it...............OH MY GOSH, IT'S FRIDAY!!!!  WE DIDN'T DO ALL OF YOUR HOMEWORK...........FIA! FIA! FIA! Get in here!!!  Get out your homework, phew....there is only one short fill in the blank paper and one more spelling sentence to write.........WHERE IS A PENCIL?  Ok, just use this pen until I can find one..............WAIT!  I found one in your, use this..........I have to pack your lunch.  WHAT AM I GOING TO PACK?  Hmmm, here is some leftover food from the lunch at church.........a chicken wing with the breading pulled off, are some fruit snacks, a pack of whoppers from that halloween party on Sunday night........ooh and a Capri Sun from the lunch at church........and for some nutritional value some baby carrots........ok that should do it............

8:55 am - MOM!  I AM DONE! A triumphant smile on my girl's there any more?  Yes, that one spelling sentence.........just write, hmmm, just write "I see a shell." (Because I am sure this is just what Mrs. Frantum pictures when she assigns homework..........literally 10 minutes before school starts on Friday her student sitting down to complete her work with her mom yelling just write I SEE A SHELL!)

9:00 - FIA!  Grab your folders and lunch box and get your stuff together..........we're gonna make it.....go! Go! GO!  I just have to grab a pair of socks for you (all the socks are currently unmatched in a huge pile in a laundry basket).................(throw, dig, throw, dig) YES!  I found some Halloween socks!  SCORE!  Now no one will know how unorganized I was this morning.......a halloween shirt AND socks, YES!

9:03 - For once there is no vortex.........everyone gets shoes on and gets out the door............

9:06 - We pull out of the driveway saying our morning car prayers and we are on our way............

9:08 - Fia gets dropped off............PHEW.  WE MADE IT!

And just to keep it REALLY real............yesterday I was a little tired. It had been a different kind of week, kind of emotional and all over the place and I hadn't spent a ton of time with the kids in the past few days.  I was CLEARLY out of practice.  Fia was acting JUST LIKE I DO when I am tired and impatient and she was talking rather unkindly and with a bit of a 'tude and I was just done.  I could not handle it at that moment while we were trying to get ready for school and I was trying to get back into the swing of things.  So after I had asked her to do something (after asking her, helping her, etc. ALL MORNING for/with different things) and she replied with a HUGE AMOUNT OF ATTITUDE.........WHAT, MOM? I might........well, I might have thrown a hairbrush across the room.

Oh. my. word.  Clearly, I had lost my mind.

I told Joe about it later that day..........and he asked what do you think she learned from THAT, MANDY?

Well, JOE, I think she learned that she better adjust her attitude because she became a whole lot sweeter after that...........well, after looking shocked, hurrying her butt up to get herself ready and then breaking down and crying and asking why I was so mad at her..........she changed her tone.  And no it was NOT a shining parenting moment of mine but I apologized, we prayed about it on the way to school and I think every single child in the house got the message LOUD AND CLEAR that mama needed a little bit of space and kindness today.

So if you are needing a little space and a little kindness today........maybe take a moment and go into your bedroom, shut the door, lay down........or maybe go into the bathroom, lock the door and just sit..............just try to do something before you find yourself hurdling a hairbrush across your dining room (and no, no children were in the actual room........but they definitely were able to see the hairbrush.........let's just hope this is one of those memories they DON'T have......)

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Today is the day.........

It seems as if it will go on forever, yet you can't imagine it starting............because for it to start, to begin will make it true and real and you just want to crawl back in bed and stay there forever.............

Because maybe then you wouldn't have to face today.

It wouldn't have to happen, but..............

Today is the day.

It's the day after.

When life has to go back to normal, only it's not the normal you wanted or thought would ever happen.

And as I read today the wish is that it will get easier.........right?

I don't know.

I think so.......but maybe not in the way I imagined before.

I used to think that things could be fixed.

I used to think that pieces could be put back together.

I used to think problems were something you solved.

I used to think that losses were something you got over.

I used to think that there was moving on, starting over.

I used to avoid, entirely, feeling pain or anger or sorrow.

But as I grow older I have a new perspective..........

I just keeping seeing a person limping and all the series of events that are brought about by a circumstance that leaves you crippled.........I see the beginning when you rage and you are angry and even just every day activities are painful and hard and take seemingly forever and you mourn who you were and who you were suppose to be.  I see every day when you have to work hard to get to the next day, to take the next step........becoming this new person, a person that lives with a effects everything.

But I can also see further ahead..........still limping, but living with it.  You learn that you can walk again, gingerly, but you can step out and begin to tentatively hope again.  The limp has started to become part of you, you are more accustomed to it.

And then one day, still with the limp, you find yourself dancing to some music or running to meet a friend and you think........oh my gosh......I didn't think I could do that anymore..........but you can.  One day.

And I still can't imagine a time when you are happy that the crippling occurred, I can't imagine thinking that........and I don't know if that's right or wrong.   But I can imagine a time when the limp simply is part of who you are but not what defines you.   And you will have learned to dance again, to walk again, to run again, to do everything you did before.............never rid of the tiny limp that accompanies you along the way and therein lies the hard part, the aching part, the confusing part..........while you never would wish for the wouldn't wish it all away.

The limp is the reminder and it is bittersweet.

Just like life........bittersweet, unsolvable, joyous, messy, glorious LIFE.

Saturday, October 20, 2012


There is a gathering..............

There is a people.......................

People who are weary longing for rest..............

People who are broken, shattered longing for restoration...........

People who have lost and are emptied longing for something to fill them..............

People who want to give up longing for someone to take the next step for them..............

People who are in the dark longing for the light...................

And so they gather, a force is moving..................

Moving them closer, circling the people.......................

Closer to rest, closer to restoration, closer to the filling, closer to the next step, closer to the light...........

Closer to God who is Love,

Closer to Jesus who is salvation,

Closer to the Holy Spirit which is power,

Closer to the gift which is.............


You have Love.

You have power.

You are the Church.

Gather together in your brokenness, in your weariness, in your longing.............

The church is not four walls, it is not a building, it is not structure and routine and what has always been done is a people.

You are the people.

You are the Church.

Gather together...............find healing, find restoration, find rest, find Love.

Strength and Love will rise as we wait upon the Lord........................together.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Father's Hands......

Close your eyes.

I want you to imagine and see as I have seen.

I want you to picture your darkest moment, the darkest hours............because He is there.

And I can't begin to know or even to guess the whys and the hows and all the questions that you must have about that moment or moments that you have experienced.  I am nothing and as I grow older I realize that I know nothing.

But I have seen.......................I have seen His hands.

I have seen His hands reach down and reach through..................strong hands that look as if they could break apart, rip apart with barely a thought anything that would get in their way..........and yet, these hands can gently raise up and hold the tiniest bundle, right up to Him........swaddled in the warmth of Him.

I have seen.

I have seen tenderness and Love and gentleness even as the world is breaking apart all around, even as human hands are reaching and grasping for what they love........wanting to just hold on.    I have seen Him holding him safely and securely............I feel joy and warmth and peace in the gentle rocking of His hands.

And to you He says..............hold on.

Hold on.

Hold on.

I am coming.

I am coming.

My promise to you.

And until then...........I have you in my hands.

My hands are strong and gentle and tender and they will hold you, too.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Day After.........

After yesterday's day of frustration and panic and falling asleep at the wheel we take to the out of doors..........raking and jumping and throwing and piling...........we laugh, run and play.  I take the time to really play, no work gets done.  Steve comes over and asks if we are raking.  I say no, just for today we are playing.  And maybe I needed the day I had yesterday to remind of the sweetness of tomorrow, the promise to start again, to enjoy the smiles and giggles of my little ones............. 

And now the kids are quiet, the house is clean and there is a couch, some tea and a book awaiting me.........(((sigh))) being found in the little things today.  

And, yes, Suzi.......the book is just as good as you would imagine it to be.......will give it to you Sunday, I will definitely be done with it and it's not due for two weeks yet :)  

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Day Like Today

There are days when I think I would be a better parent if I didn't actually live with the children I was trying to was one of those days.  I was tired.  I was irritable.  Every nerve was raw and exposed and the children were STANDING ON, POUNDING ON, JUMPING WITH FERVOR on each and every one.  At one point when I was in the van and stopped at a red light with the two youngest, I put my head down on the steering wheel and took off in my mind.  I thought of the nap I would take in twenty years, the book I was going to dive into tonight, the peace and quiet which would come again........and I drifted off...........and hit the stopped car in front of me.  No joke.  The bump of my car against his totally WOKE ME UP.  I got out of the car as he was getting out of his and I started jabbering complete nonsense at this poor man, saying whatever random thought was popping in my brain, all the while hyperventilating, praying that no damage was done.  No damage.  He ended up being SO VERY NICE and he left by saying he hoped my day would improve and that I would have a good one.  I love people like that.  I seem to meet them a lot.........people filled with grace, people that end up wishing me well when I am the one who has messed up. (I went back to read my writing and edit anything and as I was reading this it suddenly occured to me that the way strangers treat me sometimes reminds me of how I would treat an escaped mental patient, a rapid dog........gently, kindly, slowly backing away and then getting the heck away.......maybe what I recognize as grace is really just panic in the face of insanity.......hhhmmmmm.....)

Anyway..............there are days like that.

Days when you wondering if you are capable of this parenting gig that God gave you, days when your eyes bug out and cause your children to mimic you or run in terror.

Days when you yell more than you soothe.

Days when you take the long way home because you can kill an extra five minutes.

Days when the library ladies forgive your fines and do magical things with their computers that make the 10 movies you left at home not count, let you check out extra ones and sort through the 100 items you bring to the library and find all your personal ones.........wrapping them neatly up with a little note that says Codispoti.  They all get it, they've been there and never in 7 years have they batted an eye when I have come in without a shower, without my teeth being brushed, flustered beyond all belief.  They make me feel beautiful and loved..........those library ladies of North Branch.

Days when your lunch consists of peanut butter scrapped from your child's plate and a bag of already popped popcorn from the pantry........because even just putting something in the microwave seems a bit too much to handle when the couch is beckoning, the children are silenced by the GREATEST INVENTION OF ALL TIME and you just got the new Ken Follett book out of the library.

Days, just days...............and I can have a day like today and know that it isn't the only day, it isn't worth getting my panties in a bunch over (and, at least, I have some panties on this day..........laundry was a little slow to get done last week and well, it wasn't one of my finer moments showing up to a prayer vigil without my underwear...........but I am sure that God heard my prayers all the same).  The sun will come up tomorrow, the kids will rise up and sleepily reach out for breakfast, books and cuddling.........and I will be ready.

Because tomorrow is another day, another day to love and play and laugh and try again............luckily kids are much more forgiving than their parents.  What we remember is different from what they remember.  They will remember lunch outside, playing star wars with mommy, cuddling up with books, bacon (I think that is the first time I have purchased bacon in YEARS........Nico's eyes almost rolled back into his head :) and french toast for dinner with mint chocolate chip ice cream for dessert that they got to go pick out at the store.  They will remember daddy..........yes, that knight in shining armor............. coming home, playing and then making a fire so they could sit around and tell ghost stories before bed.   That they will remember.

And so tonight I shut the door on today as I shut down this sleep, to rest, to recharge so that tomorrow we can try again..............and hopefully on that day I will have underwear on, I will not run into another person's bumper and I will not have a melt down at the library counter of North Branch library............I find it helpful to have standards...........HIGH STANDARDS to which I hold myself..........underwear, full control of my vehicle and no public meltdowns.........

Got my list for tomorrow...............have a lovely and relaxing evening :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Just So You Know.......

This post has been on my mind, in my heart for a few days now..........always regulated to the back of the bunch when a new thought arises, when a new idea forms.........but it's always there, just as you are my love.  A post like this has been written before, there have been words before about you, many times.  My husband, my love, the passion in the every day, you and me before the three............but it's worth repeating.

Just so you know..........I think about you all through my day.  I can't wait for you to come home, not so I can get a break from the kids, a break from the day........although there are those days........but more because I miss you, weird as that may seem.  I miss you.  I miss having you to talk to, no one cares as much about our kids, no one knows the me of today like you do.  I look forward to you.  I am so sorry that it never seems quite the way by the time you walk through the door but I do, I look forward to you, just you.

Just so you know..............every morning when you leave, and it's dark and it's cold and everyone else is asleep........I offer up a prayer of thanks to God.  I thank God for a husband such as you that gets up and goes to work and sacrifices every day for his family that slumbers while he drives.  It means the world to me that you think it's just as important that I stay in my jammies, cook breakfast and read to our kids.  Thank you.

Just so you know..............I dream of us.  I dream of me and you - on dates, at dinner, on walks, strolling through Target on a Friday night, cuddling up watching movies, anything really where it's just the two.  I want you to know that as much as my whole world is made up of our three.......that I still look to when it's just us two.  I dream of those nights, those days, that time in the future.  I will always come back to you and me.

Just so you are my steady and strong to my here and now, passionate self.  You are my anchor, my rock.  Your integrity, while driving me crazy at times, makes me proud.  I am so proud to be your wife.  I look at you and know........I know that you are unchanging.  That who you are today is who you will be tomorrow, I never have to worry.  In this world where decisions are made and lives are changed on a whim I know that your decision was made long ago and you are here.  You are mine.

Just so you are my dream.............dreamed long ago when I was a girl.........and you are more than I ever expected or wanted.  I love that there is a side of you that only I know, that only is mine.  I love when your arms find me in the dark and hold me tight, you drowsy with sleep but still letting it be known that you are mine and I am yours.  My dream was made sweeter because it is anchored in the reality that you have given to me, that we have created together.

Just so you know..................when I am raging within, when I am filled with doubt and uncertainty, when I am convinced of my unworthiness and feel sick within, you always bring me back.  You remind me.  You pray for me.   You love me.  When in the midst of battle with someone, something, I think.............just get me to Joe, bring him home............I need his sureness.  I need the safety of you.

Just so you are more than the oil changed, the bills payed, the house kept running.  You are more than the child keeper, the trash taker, the door locker.  You are the beat of my heart, the steady rhythm of this house.  You are the gift giver, the secret keeper, the bunny hunter.   You hold in your hands the key to this family - you are it's firm foundation.

Just so you always point me up to Him.  I see you hit your knees.  I see your head bent in prayer at the sound of any siren.  I see the letters you send, the letters that come addressed to Mr. Joe.  I see your generosity.......with your time, with your money, with your love.  Others may not see...............but I see.  I see your faith.  I see your steadfastness.  I see your growth in Him.

Just so you know..............always, always will I love you.

Just so you know..........

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Voice

I have heard the voice of the One calling in the wilderness.....................this wilderness that has sprung up all around me...........this crowding in of things and people and voices and just pure meaningless inputting of information and entertainment..........but through it all I hear the voice of the One calling in the wilderness.............

I started off so sure of my course, so sure of who He was, if not in who I was in Him.......I was able to look down at the path and the course seemed steady.........of course I would be one who would be on the narrow way.............His voice was not yet known to me but I had a blind faith, a trust that surpassed knowledge...........

And then...........the seeds were sown, the seedlings sprouting and before I realized certain things took root in my life................things that, while they weren't bad, weren't the best and they began to block the light, overtake the path of which I was once so sure.  Now when I looked around and down and up and forward I just saw the growth of that which wasn't there before............blocking the path, blocking the light..........

But I heard the voice of the One calling in the wilderness.............sure where I wasn't sure anymore, faithful when my faith had wavered, strong and always there when I felt lost, He was calling me back to the path.............

And so the winnowing began, the brutal cutting down, pulling up from the roots things that were keeping me from the path, that were blocking me from seeing Him..........for even though I was crowded in, I knew that He always knew where I was, that nothing was keeping Him from me, rather it was I who was lost, who was keeping myself from Him.....................

I hear the voice of the One calling in the wilderness..................

I am here.

I am here.

Come follow me.

Come follow me.

Once again the path is a bit clearer.  The pace is steady and strong.  I have the faith of one who has walked a bit further, not that far, not that long but one who has been found.  I will continue the winnowing.  But I know that should I get lost, should the path seemingly disappear from sight I have One who will come, who will find me.

I am here.

I am here.

Come follow me

Come follow me.

I have heard the voice of the One calling in the wilderness.....................

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Laying Back..........Letting Go

It's scary to look at this blank realize that I have nothing to say or write tonight.  To think of the commitment I made on this blog, the one I spoke to others one night.........saying this is how I hear God, this is where I come to speak what goes through my mind all through the day.........this is good.

Except when it's not.

I am so used to my mind being filled with ideas and thoughts and opinions and convictions.  I cram my head full, always racing to what will be happening the next minute, the next hour, the next day.  I map out plans and posts and dreams all while going about my daily tasks.  

I love the beginning of an idea..............I love to think on it all day, to ruminate, to tweak it, to play with it.  By the time Joe gets home I am in full-fledged I-HAVE-THE-BEST-IDEA-EVER can get a little exhausting for my husband.  Because, to be honest, some of my ideas come to fruition but not all and sometimes it's not even about the plan and whether or not it happens, it's just about the idea.

But tonight.............this blank reminds me.  I am not the only writer in my life.............there is another who wishes to write on the pages of my mind but sometimes I have them crammed full of MY ideas, MY thoughts, MY opinions.........and where does that leave Him?

With only a tiny bit of space to write His words.............

And then they might get lost amidst my own script as I frantically and feverishly fill the space in my mind and in my life...................

What if all He's asking for is a blank page on which to write His words?

Is that too much?

To be still and to empty my mind of all the things that I pour into it throughout the day......

What would happen in turning off, logging off, putting down, shutting down, tuning out the distractions of life?

What if I gave Him the space He needed to speak directly to me?

What would He write?

Needing just to hear from Him tonight............breathing deep, loosening the grip I have kept on things all day, relaxing into a state of just being, letting go of every thing and every thought that threatens to creep in...................

Turning off, logging off, putting down, shutting down, tuning out..................

Friday, October 12, 2012


I have been thinking of this word the past few days...................what is joy?  How do you find it?  What does it mean to have joy?  And the word that keeps accompanying it is inappropriate.


You want me to write inappropriate? Argh.

If you know me personally then you know that word is ENTIRELY appropriate.

Inappropriate seems to be a family trait.  It encompasses my mom, my brother, his wife and I - all INAPPROPRIATE.  The normal trophy was passed from my dad to Joe.  Carry on, honey, carry on.............we are all depending on you.  But here's the thing.  When I was thinking of joy and how you find it I was trying to think of APPROPRIATE things because I wanted this to be a serious post about how you find your joy and how it's in the Lord and I wanted TO HELP and be a serious person.

NOPE, He said.


Why?  Because we live in a fallen and broken world.  Like that roller coaster I talked about yesterday we never know what is coming around the next corner.  All around us are stories of death, destruction, political divide, racism, divorce, joblessness, neglect, much more horror and tragedy.  Joy would be inappropriate in the face of such things yet every day we face such things in our on lives, in our neighborhoods, in our churches, in our world.


Because we know.  We know that happiness is based on circumstances.  But JOY is based on who we know.  JOY is based on a heart convicted of deep truths, hard truths.  Truths that speak of a new world, a better world and finding a glimpse of it here as you carry Jesus with you.  And Jesus brings JOY.  And Jesus was the ultimate example of being inappropriate.


Joy is a weapon.  A weapon against an enemy who seeks to rob you of your JOY.  I have seen joyful faces in the midst of tragedy and I have wanted what they have.  I wanted a conviction, a faith that would carry me through the darkest times with a face that reflected joy.  I think of those people now and I think of the impact they had on my faith walk.  They were steps on my journey to Jesus.  They knew JOY.   So when life becomes too hard, too much, too crippling.............dig deep, rise up and laugh in the face of what is being thrown your way.


Remember how I said that JOY is inappropriate?  Well, I thought about every laugh out loud moment I have had, the ones that really stick out in my mind...........they are all ENTIRELY inappropriate.  THis might just be me but look back, look back in your life.  What causes you to laugh out loud?  Because here's the thing.  We can know Jesus and we can have faith but then we need to be ok with laughing in the midst of tragedy.  That goes against what seems right.  And there are times when you need gravity and to be sensitive to those around you but I think we are scared to acknowledge JOY sometimes.


My joy moments.................sitting at dinner and being overcome with the need to throw a glass of water in my husband's face.  HE HATES THIS.  But seriously, it brings me so much joy, I am seriously LAUGHING OUT LOUD RIGHT NOW.  I have no idea what comes over me but I have done it quite a few times and it's even better when your kids are sitting there, UTTERLY HORRIFIED that their mother has just LOST ALL SENSE OF PROPRIETY and has just thrown a glass of water across the table at daddy.  I love to wear the kid's underwear on my head and declare wars.  We did this at Francesca's birthday party........girls vs. boys.......the grandmas, aunts and uncles all played too.  I think there were 12 people crammed into the girls tiny room all throwing socks at each other with underwear on their heads while Uncle Vince videotaped it all and Aunt Colleen wondering what the heck she married into...........I am sure that Uncle Vince explained later that this is more a Kossler thing than a Codispoti thing and it shouldn't affect their life too much........or their children when they come.  I love making fart noises with Nico-BIG, LOUD, WET fart noises.   He laughs SO HARD.  I think this is a laugh, a moment I am storing up for later in life.  This is a memory, me and my boy, laughing so hard.  I love any moment with my brother and Tash........oh my gosh, especially watching Glozell on YouTube talking about Subway..............or whipping her hair........or reminiscing about our childhood and telling stories about mom.  THERE ARE SO MANY STORIES.  And what's awesome is our children will have THE SAME STORIES..............I become more like mom every day and, well, Tash shares so many of the same characteristics.

Yeah, but those are fun.  What about when LIFE is not FUN?

Create joy.  Let yourself laugh when life is not fun.  Again......JOY is a weapon.  The enemy has been defeated...........death couldn't hold Him down...........lift your voice in victory...........make your praises LOUD.  Again.........I look back, I look back to when Adalyn was born.........five days in Kansas City with my brother and Tash.........five days of LAUGHTER, TEARS,  JOY, SORROW, LOVE, PRAISE.  I remember going to the funeral home to pick out an urn with Matt and Tash.......feeling like kids doing the job of a grownup.  It was so AWKWARD walking into this place because it was so unnatural.  We walk into the room with BARRY (I kid you not the funeral director's name was BARRY) and there is a WALL OF URNS - it looked like a trophy display.  Some had pictures, some had little statue things, all kinds, almost all ENTIRELY RIDICULOUS.  We spent a few minutes feeling each other out and then I couldn't help it I started to laugh.  REALLY HARD.  Barry came back in and I had to pretend to be looking at the urns, Tash had her head down - Barry thought we were sobbing........which made me laugh harder, Matt was the only one to keep it together.  He finally had to ask Barry to leave the room so we could have a moment...........for our, ummmm, sobbing to cease.  We never did get it together.  We laughed the entire time.  It was ridiculous and inappropriate and SO MUCH FUN and is a memory created around Adalyn JOY, JOY in the face of tragedy.  I remember, also, being at Adalyn's memorial service and standing with my family, arms around one another, the only ones standing, standing and praising and in doing so acknowledging that DEATH has not won THIS day.  THIS day is the DAY OF THE LORD.

I think JOY is the ultimate letting go............................JOY is messy, it's in your face, it's LOUD, it's sometimes jarring because of it's inappropriateness, you want to look away because you think YOU SHOULD BE SAD AND BROKEN AND NOT BE JOYFUL.  But then you look back, you want to know..........what does this person have that I don't...........where is that joy?  Where does it come from?

The enemy's been defeated............death couldn't hold Him down............we're gonna lift our voice in victory...........gonna make our praises LOUD..............

Today lift your victory........with conviction..........with JOY.

Find a way to experience JOY.

After you throw the water...........just tell your husband it's my fault ;)  Any revenge can be exacted on me............I'm a big girl.............with a BIG bucket :)