Showing posts from August, 2013



My senior boy spends much of his days outside of chores, school, sports, church, and the moments at his home with his real parents at his other two  homes---those of his close friends (Thank you Days and Luksanders).  As most parents of teen boys, we joke about how they eat us out of house and home.  The thought gripped me that my grown boy takes up their couch and parking space because they feed him.  We all know that if you feed a stray, they will stay a while (emoticon wink).

On  deeper level, I know my son would not stay at anyone's home just for the physical food.  He gets fed  too well at his homestead.But these homes feed him on a deeper level. I haven't asked him, but I would guess that beneath the allowing him to play video games and watch endless sports, he senses they want him there, they care for him, and he feels comfortable and safe. Are there any better feelings in your day or world to want?

The thought just slammed into my chest with the entire power …


So  I wrote a midnight letter (really it was even later) to a small group of high school girls that I will get the privilege of working with this year.  Someone will give it to them next week at their beginning of the year retreat since I cannot be with them.  I want to encourage them this year because, even though they don't know it, they will water my soul.  I taught each of them in ninth grade so I know a little bit of who they are, but I look forward to discovering the bigger gift they are to me and the world. 

I know they won't read this blog, so I can share these very sentimental thoughts about them.  We meet for the first time tomorrow, and I hope we will share life just where we are.  (Karly, such a beautiful girl inside and out, has already said to me that she is so glad I am her small group leader this year.  Choke and a million smiles from my heart to her.)

Hey Girls,
Even though I am not with you right now on retreat, I wish I were.And you know if I were, I would ask…

Keep Pressing. Keep Holding.

As a baby I was a bit jumpy and preferred to be swaddled.  I still like the safe feeling of tucking the covers around me, being held securely.  It's the same holding still of  glue to repair small broken pieces, and maybe even sometimes it might be the holding of a vice.  It is a holding until  I am sure the pieces can hold on their own.  Hold and then test and see and, if necessary, hold some more.  

And maybe that is what happened after a lovely night of ice cream with my husband.  We reviewed the recent year of teaching for the warning signs of needed repair, for the pieces that glue still needed to hold together.  

Keep pressing.  Keep holding. Pressing holds me still and sure.

And somewhere in that ride home, it was as if suddenly a piece fell off of me and my hand was floundering to find it on the dark floor mat, seeking to grasp something I couldn't see. Why did I suddenly feel like I was rolling around in uncertainty of my decisions?  I needed to hold tight, but I fel…


...And then the arena doors were closed. There I stood,  out-of-body watching my tight-fisted swollen hand cling to the handle.   The arena doors, now in my weakness, seemed like dragging weights. The final drawn-out clash of the cathedral doors, like the final note of "The Swan Song," jolted my mind from its fog.

The silent, breathless walk was interrupted only by tapping footsteps. Heavy eyes hung from a drooped face that grazed the grey pavement. 

My blank-stare thoughts were consumed by the growing pressing of memories...the force of finality...the pain of leaving...the anxiety of what  next...the thumping in my ears of loss ...the panic of right choices...the nausea of  doubt...the wounds of words.

My eyes could not recall seeing. My mind, my neck, my jaw, my throat, and my arms paralyzed by fatigue.  I barely comprehended the steps that beckoned me to stop. Unguarded, I could not respond to this moment, to this fan who suddenly thrust a rhythm into my ears to restart my …


Stumped over on the bench with my arms on my elbows and gloves covering my eyes, sweat dripped from my nose and chin.  Removing my gloves, tears welled and dropped to small puddles on the concrete floor. Taped, cramped hands became closed fists. Rehearsing the previous round in my mind's eye, doubt pierced my soul. My mind wondered if  I was qualified to continue sparring in this arena and feared that I wasn't even qualified from the start. 

What if people saw my utter dependence on Christ?  What if they saw that I controlled less and less? What if I worked harder and harder and better and better and still felt out of balance and unsure?  Wouldn't that be out of control?  What if my portion of need seemed so much larger than theirs?  What if I knew He was enough, but didn't always live that promise?  What if they knew I was this weary?  What if they knew that some days my motions were only sustained by His promises?  Didn't that sound lost?  What if they knew that…


No matter what direction I  travel today from my home, I face road construction: going in town via 150 or highway 74.  No matter where I desire to travel within Mahomet, I encounter road face lifts and  detour signs for new school bus pick-up and drop-off routines. Yesterday's surprise was highway 74 being coned to one lane at the on-ramp.  Soon the highway between our two Mahomet exits will be totally closed in order to work on a local bridge which is projected to take a year.

I know I should be grateful for improvements. And really I am, but the unexpected on ramp congestion to highway 74 had me mentally sighing, "Man, we have construction going on everywhere don't we?" which was quickly followed by "Yes, we do and even within you."

Now, I don't talk to myself, but this response must have been bred from my slight frustration of having to closely watch the road.  I don't drive without thinking,  but common routes that don't normally require conc…


It's that time of year again...the near end of summer,  another beginning of school, the close of summer picnic coolers, the opening of backpacks, the beckoning of morning alarms, the call of cicadas in the evening...the darkness greeting your morning eyes,  the drawing of daylight to a close sooner each evening.

At the kitchen counter after dinner, trying to assemble the next morning duties, I casually strummed those usual question chords, "Hey, what are you needing for school?"   My straight forward high school senior  calmly responded "food" as if it was the obvious first response.  With a smirk and an eye roll, I added "Besides that!" Then he simply added, "Mom, what we always need. You know better than me what I need.You have done this for years.”

Suddenly, the wisdom of his abdication catapulted off the page.  All areas of healthy living begin with the right "food."   In a variety of ways throughout life,  we often get asked what we…


And in those moments, I lay there knowing defeat, it felt achingly alone and surreally solitary and crushingly quiet and night-time numb.  Feeling miraculously ceased which  barred the pain and dammed the tears so I could walk the aisles of the grocery store praying for no eye-contact, no niceties of  "How are you doing?" Driving home, my phone recorded the moments I didn't respond to my husband's calls, wonderer of  where I was.  Answers would not come for fear the well would
not cease.

And wasn't  that  exactly the deeper question bantering around in my head? "Where was I in this?"...
"Where was I going with this?"...  "What was this sadness?" ... "What  about this moment did I believe to be true?"... "What bruises would I continue to press, allowing the pain to regurgitate again and again?"... "Why did this feel different than other moments of criticism?"

The painkillers no longer worked, the numb wo…


And this year I am not entering the arena.  The school booklet doesn't list my name as part of the "sweet science" of education.  I am not a contender in the daily ring to forge life lessons for souls dry and thirsty and souls budding and growing high.

I could see the battle clearly for others.  I found words of affirmation for others.  I heard them come from my own mouth time and again.  I even adhered to the counsel of those sought after holy words.  I prepared in prayer and sought in tears, but still this round it was me that succumbed to the pain.  Why would I lose when I prepared? When I gave so much of myself?   I had not abandoned the play book.  I followed the strategies.  I even tried to live them and sought Christ, but I was not to win this round.  There was no God abandonment here.  He still fully endorsed my soul.

Battered and bruised, jab upon jab landed on the same weakened work weary body.  An unseen quick one-two punch  sent me flat to the hard mat …

...of HOME

Today....just a stream of thought about home. 

Books and movies I cherish wrap the setting or theme around home. ( I turn up Phil Phillips Home  loudly and sing along.)  

Home is a drawing force to me, but for others it is the place they seem to be running from.  A place of refuge but maybe a desperate place to leave or forced to leave.  In  all, it seems to be a birthplace of  great emotion---emotions that span a lifetime that we hold close and that influence who we are, what we become, how we become, and what we think. 

I am inclined to think that this emotion of being drawn to home was ordained from the beginning of time.  We are both called to run  home at times like running to base in hide and seek  and also to be able to move away  knowing the light is still shining from the safe harbor.  It is a place already established but that is also being created with our own hearts and souls and hands. We are both at times a native and a stranger at  home, an alien within our own land. This …


Disappointed by a delay, the train delay to Chicago gave us time to relax.  Iced coffee and chai tea in our hands, I settled into a table for conversation with my nephew as my husband attended work via texting with his exhaustively small Blackberry.  Easy chatting everywhere in the crowded waiting area. My mind wandered to nearby couples planning a trip, a lady asking a gentleman about receiving Wi-Fi, a lady  asking to share a small circular table--2 private entities sharing one space, a young lady upset on her phone, a young man zoning to the Beats in his ears. Many people and many moments passed. Less coffee and  no chai tea later,  we joined the formed line for the arriving train. 

Still quietly sharing. Still people watching.  Still my husband texting. Now nephew groping in his wallet.

A sudden sure realization grabbed me from low in my stomach, paralyzing my throat. A quick turn and seeming run to the man holding my fate behind the counter. Quietly, I thought maybe I shouldn'…