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When Father's Day is Painful

The other day, we took the kids to the splash park. And as I was sitting there, enjoying the wild antics of my children, running and romping in the fountains, I heard a stranger say distinctly, "Dad!" It startled me. Because without warning, I was jolted back to a life where I could talk to my own dear Pa again. That simple word, "Dad," flooded my mind with memories, us laughing over silly things. I sat there crying on the splash pad, turning my face away so no one could see. Good thing there was water all around. Maybe nobody noticed the tears. But, in that moment of grieving, when somehow I wanted to just sit and cry, the Holy Spirit whispered so kindly but swiftly, "Little lovey, just thank Me. Thank Me for all those talks with your Daddy." So, I did. "Thank You, God! For givi[...]

How to Slow Down Your Summer and Enjoy Your Life More

  We're home now. Home to our yard full of dirt and grass and frogs for Sam to catch, and weeds for me to get to pullin.  There will be popsicles with the neighbor kids and evenings where we taste honeysuckle from the ditch and chase after fireflies and there will be bonfires with s'mores sticking to our chins. And we'll take numerous trips to the beach, and just sit out in lawn chairs, visiting with friends. I think I missed that part the most, while we were on the road. The part where you just sit still, outside somewhere, underneath a shade tree, with a glass of lemonade or sweet tea, and swat flies with someone you've known for years and tell stories and laugh. The whole summer is laid out before us and I want to slowly drink it in. I don't want it to pass by i[...]

How the Ordinary Moments Can Be the Most Impactful Ones

Today, I was helping Brent wind up the hoses to our trailer, as we packed up for our final jaunt to home. As I bent down to secure the hose in place while Brent wound it round and round, I had a flashback memory of me and my Pa. There we were again, out in the yard, Pa teaching me how to wind up the water hose. There's an art to it, you know. You can't just wind a hose up any old way or else it'll get all jangled and kinked up. When the memory came, racing back in vividly bright colors, I cried, quiet. Because winding up a water hose with my Dad was the most ordinary moment I can imagine. But, you never know which ordinary moment will lodge itself secure in your memory and then come traipsing back years later, in the most brilliantly alive narration. I paused and just let th[...]

Road Life: The Parts I Love (And Don't Love)

If you ask me what I love about traveling, I'll tell you that it's the parts that allow me to pause, and soak in my kids' childhood, just like I did when I was back home, out in our backyard. The other day, we played out on a playground in Ruston, Louisiana, at the church where we stayed. Wherever we land, we make our own backyard, always finding some green space, and this church had the biggest field, edged in by pine trees and hardwoods and dappled with ant hills (which we were careful not to stand on top of.) And if you walk all the way up the hill of the parking lot, there's this little playground, fenced and mulched and inviting us to romp. I sat on the bottom of the slide in the gentle warmth of a Louisiana spring, and just gazed at each of my children, enjoying their l[...]

The Words My Pa Gave to Me, Before He Died

I wasn't always so great at talking to my Dad. Especially during those teenage years, you know, it was so very awkward. I would have these things I needed to tell him though, some struggles I was going through, and so I would tell my Mom first. And then she'd have me and Dad sit down together in the living room, and somehow, we'd stumble it out. I'd tell him my hard things. And he'd challenge me in some areas where I was stuck.  And give me advice. Good grief, it was excruciating to work through. I hated it. And I loved it. And now, I'm so glad my Mom had us do that. At some point, a few years ago, I decided to call my Dad on Saturdays. Because it was always easy to talk to my Mom. I'd call and we could talk for an hour, no problem. But, I realized after years of this, tha[...]

When My Pa Went to Heaven

My Pa went on to be with Jesus, and I try hard to remember everything. I scratch around for everything I can possibly recall about him, for days. I lay down at night, and search the memories, the colors, the moving pictures, the snapshots in my head, because if I can just remember all the things, then somehow I can hold on to him. There I am again, about 10 or 11. It's Thanksgiving Day and we live down a dusty dirt road. Family is coming over for lunch and my Pa is down at the culvert, trying to clear out the dam that the beavers built, that's making the water flood over the road. My Mom tells me to take Dad coffee, in that plastic cup that we kept from Hardee's. Or was it McDonald's? Either way, I set out down the stretch of road, with a warm cup of coffee for my Pa, and I feel so [...]

Trailer Life

We're at this RV park in Arkansas. (My Pa has been sick, so since we were already driving through, we decided to take a week to be close to him and my family.) We usually live in church parking lots, so this is our first time to stay in an RV park. There's this fun and interesting community here. That's us, in Gigantor. When you drive Gigantor into an RV park, everyone comes out to meet you. There was the retired Marine driving by in his Jeep who stopped to chat for a bit. He was cussin' until we told him what we do. (Ministers to the church.) And then he was like, "Let me tell you something! I'm real proud of what you guys are doing. Real proud." And we were like, "Well, we're really proud of you, for serving our country." And he was like, "But, not as proud as I am of you." The[...]

How To Listen To What Your Life is Telling You

You never know what a year will bring. But, later, when those 365 revolutions around the sun, spin to a close, you can look back and see what the year was trying to tell you. I thumb through the pages of this last year and put my ear up closely to the pictures, the scribbling down of my days, to see if I can hear what my life is saying. To listen for what my Maker is telling me, through the reverberation of all those light-speeding moments. Just before the new year had birthed out new again, Haven was born. Haven, whose name means, "safe place." And "a refuge." We whispered into her that the One who made her is our safe place. He's our true Home. And that all of us are meant to be safe places for others. We prayed that she would become that sort of human, walking around[...]

If I Could Sit Down and Chat With My Younger Self

When I was carrying my first babe, I decided that about six months in, of my belly growing out big, that I would shut the computer down at the office, and clean out my desk drawers and just work from home. Only, I didn't have a boss anymore. And I didn't have any deadlines. Or a paycheck. Or emails to keep me busy. I just had me and my little babe stretching me out, and my house to clean and some food to cook. Honestly, it was overwhelming. I was so tired already. And how was I supposed to know what to do everyday? No one was there to assign me any tasks. No one was around to tell me if I was being successful or not. Well, there was Brent. But, he was figuring out what it meant to have a stay at home wife, so he encouraged me as best as he could, but I still felt a bit lost. [...]

How To Break Free From Fear And Angst

A little while ago, my friend told me the world is pretty much doomed. I used to walk around believing that. Like, it's just a matter of time, before the ground beneath us quakes and we all go under. But, then I prayed. Like, a thousand times that I wouldn't be so afraid. And I talked to my friends and mentors about my fears. And we prayed together. And I began to rebuke all the spirits of fear in my life. Fear of the future. Fear of scary things happening to my kids. Fear of persecution. Fear of shooters. Fear of bad guys breaking in. I started soaking my mind in some comforting Scriptures. Things like, The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all the universe! (Psalm 103: 19) God, You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your win[...]

On Motherhood and Marriage and Finding God

I love being a Momma. All of it. I love all of it. All the joy. The learning. The growing. The stretching. Yes, even the struggle and strain. I find that it's the hard parts of motherhood that help me most become like Jesus. When I was in my early twenties, I remember going on a bike ride in my neighborhood. (I was still living at home with my parents because I was afraid to leave home and there were other factors weighing in on that, but I won't get into that now.) Anyways, I remember passing this empty house. I stopped in my tracks and paused there on the road and wondered if I'd ever buy a house. Or marry a best friend. Or have any children. And I decided then, on that patch of pavement, that all of that was impossible. It wasn't that it was impossible for anybody else, it[...]

When You Feel A Hollowed Out Lonely Feeling

I feel a hollowed out lonely feeling today. The kind of feeling that doesn't budge. It just sits, glum, in the corner, scrunched over, like a dead weight. Is it because winter is here in Minnesota, where we sit on this asphalt parking lot next to this church? Is it because the days are shorter and the sun has only peeked out once this week, for a shy minute? Is it because of the shooting at that little country church in Texas? Where those people went to seek God together and they didn't know they wouldn't go out to eat afterwards? I feel the ache of that community. Weeping with those who weep. Is my hollowed out feeling because churches are meant to be safe places? Hospitals for souls? And yet it happens so little. This week, I got to witness this first hand, though. At th[...]

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