“Finally brothers and sisters…think about such things”


Friends, It has been so long since I have even visited this space. I came here tonight looking for a picture of me and my mom. I thought I’d take a stroll down my virtual memory lane. And friends, what I found here made me mostly sad. My goodness, what a frustrated, unhappy woman I found here. I am particularly saddened by how often I vented the frustrations of motherhood rather than express my gratitude for my daughters and all the things they are teaching me.

Looking at those old posts was like looking at the worst version of myself. I don’t mean this in a down-on-myself, fishing for reassurances kind of way. I read those posts and I saw a woman who was so burdened with guilt and shame that it made my heart cringe. Worse, even, than looking at old pictures of myself in junior high. Yikes. Maybe, if you’ve been around here awhile, you saw something different when you read my posts. I hope so. I know it wasn’t all negative. It’s just that when I read those happy posts, I remember how fleeting those moments of happiness were. How the frustration and guilt and worry were the constant. I am happy to say that this is no longer the case.

For that reason, I feel like it is important to make a change, so, I’ve renamed this blog.

Phillipians 4:8 has been rattling around in my head for a few months now, and I’ve been looking for a way to integrate it more into my life. What I post here will not be all sunshine and happiness, because I have found real peace and beauty on my way to the other side of pain, but I’m not done yet. I have so much to share with you. So many good and difficult and wonderful and painful and freeing and hopeful things. I don’t know if I’ll give much backstory or if I’ll just pick up where I am and let that big blank stay there. I was tempted to start a whole new blog. To metaphorically sweep all that old bitterness under the virtual rug and let it go to the place where neglected blogs die. But I decided that if nothing else, it’s good to know where we come from.

Perhaps by leaving the entire record here, anyone who cares to read it–past, present, or future–might have an understanding of why I celebrate what others might see as brokenness. Somehow I feel like my version of true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy is more intact if I leave it all here.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Phillipians 4:8




It had been at least 42 days since it had rained. I don’t know if that was a record, because I’m kind of a take-the-weather-as-it-comes kind of girl. But I can tell you that in the past six-week draught, my yard not only yielded its green, but took on the smell of stale straw–a marked absence of sweetness and softness. And while I don’t really think much about the weather, my soul and body are another matter completely.

It had been overcast all day. Driving home, my husband complained that every place north, south, east, and west has had rain, but not us. Today would be no different, he said. His pessimism annoyed me. The clouds were soupy and nothing was casting shadows. I had only just begun to hope.  I gently suggested that we should be thankful that our livlihoods are not directly dependent upon the rain.

And so, a few hours later, when I glanced out our front door to see a few spots dotting the front porch, it seemed reasonable to feel just a little bit delighted. Finally. The rain made it to us. Of course, I knew it eventually would, but the wait was long. And my body and my soul and my yard are just so thirsty. And hot. And I’ve been waiting without realizing I was waiting. And maybe, just maybe, the waiting is worse than the thirst and the heat.


There is suspended emotion for which there is a weight in my heart, but no person, place, time, or memory upon which to attach it. In the rain, that suspended emotion is no longer homeless. In the rain, the ambiguity makes sense. Everyday, we pour our lives into the universe. Our life forces evaporate into the atmosphere, but we never disappear. They collect in the streams of our lifetimes, which are but tributaries to the rivers of family histories, and eventually lead to oceans of human experience.

But sometimes we return to ourselves. Sometimes as condensation on a glass, when an old memory captures the light and changes how we see the here and now.  Sometimes as a deluge, when past decisions and circumstances force us from our comfortable places. And sometimes, as rain. Rain returns to us that which is least explainable yet most fundamental in ourselves. Neither an incidental residue nor a major reckoning of the past, rain is what we give to the universe that returns and beckons us to consider what is mysterious and eternal within us. Yet so often, we try to shelter ourselves from it.

I had been waiting upon this rain without realizing how much I had been yearning for it. And so, when it arrived with its perfume and song, something in my primal soul rejoiced, and rejoices still. I stepped into it, letting it soak me utterly as my skin tingled, and my muscles relaxed, and my hair soaked, and my eyes closed, and my lungs breathed, and my heart beat, and my lips smiled. The sweetness and softness of my little world returned.

In the rain, our misty vapors rise again. Ever ambiguous. Ever etheral. Always returning. Always rejoicing.

Stuff I Could Do Without: June 2012 edition

It has been a long time since I compiled a pet-peeve list, but I’d like to purge my aggravations and start July off with a clean slate. I promise to keep it to June 2012 incidents:

1. Last week I metaphorically gave Fate and superstition the finger and boldly pointed out to John that our washer and dryer are approaching 14 years old and we have never had one single, solitary issue with either one of them. Then my dryer abruptly stopped working. The repair was about $120, and the repairman told us that further repairs would be necessary soon. S’yeeeah… I guess we’re in the market for a new dryer. I just hope that Fate doesn’t double-down and decide to mess with our washer too.

2. I feel like a jerk for writing this because at this moment they are cuddled up sweetly together, but the girls’ bickering back and forth–GAH! They did so well together while we were in Florida, so I guess I shouldn’t complain. They argue about all the stupid crap sisters usually argue about, but the way they argue has this tween-age girl drama in which everything is Such A Big Deal, and they have both been So Wronged, and How Dare She Do That To Me. Considering Little Miss G is nine, and Super L is only six years old, I know that this is Just The Beginning. I’ve been telling John for years that when Super L is 12 and Little Miss G is  15, we are soooo incredibly In For It. I think he sees that now.

3. Summer has come blasting in like some kind of demon-possessed wench with a vengeance. We are on the third consecutive day of temps over 100, with a forecast of at least three more. It’s currently 9 p.m. and 91 face-melting degrees. On Tuesday a cool front is supposed to come through and it will only reach 95. Oh yipee.

Last and definitely not least….

4. I have poison ivy. Badly. I’ve been trying not to complain about it because I got it doing a good deed for somebody I love, and I don’t want to taint something that I feel good about with negativity. In fact, I kind of scoffed earlier this week about the poison ivy and the dryer breaking because both those incidents happened, coincidentally, as I was doing something for someone else. I made the remark that if the devil was trying to deter me from staying the course, it wasn’t going to work and that I actually found it funny. Well, I’m staying the course — I’m still trying to put love into action,  but I’m not laughing any more. Every morning I wake up to find a new section of my arms, legs or torso infiltrated by whelps and rash. This is even with a six-day course of prednisone.  I told John that I’d be curious to know what my blood pressure is right now, because I am sure it’s elevated. I can feel the stress in my sometimes trembling hands, low-grade headache, shallow breathing and slightly tight feeling in my chest. All from higher blood pressure induced by the constant resistance to scratch.

5. [Related to 4]. All the conflicting advice on how to treat poison ivy. Calomine lotion or not? Hydrocortizone cream or not? Aveeno bath or not? Oral steroids or not? I’ve tried it all. Some relieve the itch, but clearly nothing has stopped the spreading. The internet, as usual, is full of home remedies. The most infuriating to me are those nitwits who post answers like “Don’t scratch it!” Really? As if that needed to be made loud and clear. I have succeeded about 98% of the time this past week to not scratch, and when I do relent, I keep it light and local (so as not to aggravate the itchy patch more or spread the rash to unaffected areas). Despite my self control, this rash has spread from exactly 3 tell-tale, small marks on Monday to full-on rashy ickiness covering about half of the area all of my extremeties.

So what about you? Is there anything you’d like to do away with before July arrives? Feel free to vent those frustrations here. It’s a safe place.


Ahem. [taps microphone]

Anybody out there?

Well, where do I begin?

Maybe with an, “I’m BAAAACK!”

Or maybe with just a whisper, “I am here. I am here. I am here.”

Or maybe I just start writing as though I never really stopped.

Truth is nothing much more in my life is any more settled, completed, worked out, or put into order than it was when I took this hiatus in August.

Truth is life is just as busy and complicated as ever.

Truth is that it was nice to have one less thing to fuss/tinker with and distract me from the things I should be doing.

Truth is sometimes I’m uncomfortable with the title of this blog because I know I’m not “Lucky.” I know that I am Blessed–and abundantly. But I hope that my friends know that I know that. But who am I writing for, anyway?

Truth is there isn’t much to tell. And what there is to tell, I haven’t really delved into very deeply myself.

Truth is that I’m not sure how frequently I’ll be writing here, but I am officially opening the door.

I am here. I am here. I am here.

It’s hard to not worry when they keep telling you not to worry.

Since summer break began, I have already had two “firsts.” Last weekend was the first time I ever participated in a Komen Race for the Cure. And, coincidentally enough, a few days before that I  had my first-ever mammogram! Whee!

I’ll spare you the up-close and uncomfortable details of the mammogram, because let me tell you, they are up-close and uncomfortable. But, since I’m not 25 anymore–or even 30 anymore–my doctor said it was time to get a “baseline” done so that when I hit 40 (the age at which boobies begin to change faster), they have a younger picture to compare it to and identify any potential areas of concern. No problem. Especially since the imaging center was efficient, courteous, and running on schedule. The technician told me I would receive a letter in about a week with my test results. She said about 50 percent of the time patients are asked to come back for a follow-up test because the doctors want to take a closer look, and it is really nothing to worry about if that happens to me because of that 50 percent who have to come back, like, over 90 percent are given a clean bill of health. Okay, duly noted. I am not a worrier-over-nothing by nature, so I was cool.

So off I skipped away from that appointment noting how funny it was–these coincidences. Six weeks ago when my mom asked me if I wanted to walk in the Komen Race for the Cure with her this year, I had no idea that my doctor was going to recommend a mammogram. Funny how these two firsts would happen within 72 hours of each other.

The Race was, to put it simply, amazing. I live near a major metropolitan area, and this city’s annual Komen Race is one of the largest in the country–as in over 64,000 participants, over 4,900 survivors, and millions of dollars raised for breast cancer research. I was walking that day with my mom, a few of her good friends, my uncle Eric, and my uncle’s wife, Brenda, who is a two-year breast cancer survivor. The significance of this event was not lost on me. First, just the sheer size and energy of the crowd is enough to make an impression. Then I began looking at all the t-shirts. There were teams with t-shirts bearing the images of women, young and old, some with children on their laps, with the words, “In loving memory of…” These women were beautiful, vibrant, even joyful in their pictures. Some people wore the names of individual women and men on tags pinned to their shirt. No pictures but names…. “my beautiful mama Joyce,” “my auntie Suzanne.” One woman had five names listed on her tag. Five. All in all, it was a joyful atmosphere, but one could sense an underlying solemnity in some of the groups and teams that gathered. I saw some teams shedding tears together. Some teams were jubilant. Babies, survivors in their pink-shirts, men, women, young and old, all colors, all ethnicities. Mom and I were impressed by how many how many young men were walking in groups together. You know, guys who were old enough that their moms could make them be there, yet they were not walking with girlfriends, moms, aunts, whoever. Maybe they were there because their employers sponsored a team. Who cares? The point is they got their butts out of bed at a crazy early hour on a Saturday to get downtown to walk with 64,000 other people the the heat. They were there.

Once the walking part of the race got underway, because you know 64,000 people aren’t all going to run, just the movement of the group and jockeying to stay with your team becomes the focus, but everybody was very sweet. Once the crowd found its pace, and spread out into comfortable groups, it was possible to separate the walkers from the bystanders, and the bystanders cheered for everyone as if we were actually running. Everyone had pink in their clothing, but all-pink shirts are reserved for breast cancer survivors, and when a survivor walked by, the bystanders really cheered like crazy. It was wonderful to see my Aunt Brenda get that kind of support and affirmation from complete strangers.

At a certain point in the route, there is a slight hill, and I could finally see what was ahead of me.

This is what I saw behind me.

All those tiny, white dots? That river of white up ahead and behind? Those are all people. And that wasn’t even everybody. At that point in the race route, some people were already past the finish line. This was the point where the goosebumps and the tears came for me. It was amazing to see so many people from all walks of life, young and old, every color, every ethnicity, some walking because their employer sponsored a team, some walking because their families and friends have been stricken with this disease. In the end, it doesn’t matter why a person was there. Everyone was united for a common cause for a few hours that morning. That felt so very good to my heart and spirit.

Four days after the Race, I got my letter from the imaging center. My mammogram showed an area of concern. I wasn’t worried, like they said, no need to at this stage. I was more bummed that I would have to make two more phone calls and schedule another appointment. My first call was to be to my regular doctor. Her nurse talked me through the whole need for the follow up. There is an area on the left side that is of some concern. It is probably just thickening tissue which happens as we get older. The radiologist just wants a clearer look at the area. She assured me that there was no need to worry. “I understand,” I told her. “The technician who did my first test told me this happens quite a bit with baseline tests, so I wasn’t too surprised about the letter.” “Oh, good,” the nurse replied. “Okay, well if you have any follow up questions, just call us. Go ahead and schedule the appointment for whenever it’s convenient for you. This is not an emergency, so don’t worry.”


Didn’t I just say I wasn’t? I know they probably have to give this same news to a lot of women who jump to scary conclusions, so they’re just being professional and doing their job and being reassuring, I get that. In fact, they probably say it out of habit, really. This is what I told myself as I hung up with the nurse and dialed the number for the imaging center to schedule my appointment. The scheduler is an old acquaintance way back from my softball years and is very nice. We set the date for the follow up, and she told me that the radiologist would read my tests that day and I would leave that appointment with my results. She too assured me not to worry.

Okay, maybe I’m a little bit of an emotional rebel, but the more I’m told not to feel a certain way, the more I’m going to wonder if I should be feeling that way. Again, I know that these women are being kind, and I take their kindness as such. I’m not criticizing them at all. I’m merely pointing out that telling someone not to worry often has the opposite effect of what is intended. But even still, I wasn’t too worried. All these assurances of don’t worry made me curious how other women took this news, and if that was why the assurances were offered so quickly and readily at every point along the way.

Thanks to the freedom of not working in the summer and a dad who is retired and can watch the kids anytime, I was able to get my follow up mammogram scheduled for the very next day. Again, my experience at the imaging center was smooth, efficient, professional. The technician was very sweet as she hurt me and made my body into shapes that I never thought possible all in the name of good health care. At least her hands were warm. As promised I got my results back in a matter of minutes.

The “girl” looks okay right now, but they want me to come back in six months just to make sure nothing is changing. And this time, there was no don’t worry assurance.

Huh. Which, okay, this is good news. Clearly, if they were still concerned about what they saw, they would have given me an MRI that day (they told me so). And I don’t want to make a mountain out of a molehill, because as I learned at the Komen Race, hundreds of women receive a much more serious and heartbreaking diagnosis every single day. Still, what should have been a baseline test for five years in the future is now a baseline for six months from now. I’m not worried, but I would have preferred the result that goes, “see you when you’re 40.” Ya know?


I am terminally uncool. I know this. Consider the evidence.

Exhibit A: My kids’ initials spell G.E.E.K.  That was totally unintentionally done, but now that it is so, I have a necklace that proclaims it. I’ll post a pic and a link someday when I’ve showered and don’t look like what I am–a summer SAHM mom who doesn’t give a rat’s patootie what I look like when I’m blogging in my basement.

Exhibit B: Little Miss G is ever so slowly giving up her Nickelodeon crap for this: <a href=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/uvwCLGCozIk“>The best science-fiction-fantasy series going right now. And it’s British! YAY! I really have to thank my brother for this. If he didn’t come and commandeer our television at least once a week, none of us would have taken the time to watch. I’m ashamed of this, because staying up late with my dad on Sunday nights to watch this Doctor <a href=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/PwkYhLiY_fM“> is one of my fondest childhood rituals.

Exhibit C: I went to this guy’s concert last Friday, and loved every single minute. Every time I hear a Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, or Katy Perry song, I want to stab myself in the ear, but this? This is good stuff. I’ve been humming this song all weekend.

Guilty as charged.

30 Posts of Truth: Something I like about myself

This meme is WAYYY old, but I still want to do it. And since I need to get back into the habit of writing every day, I might just try to do the next 28 posts in 28 days.

My answer to this one came pretty easily, and I hope it rings true to those of you who know me. I hold on to friends. There is a certain threshold in my heart that once people cross it, they can never ever go back. No matter how far this person drifts or how long it has been, I keep people in my heart–always. Some people might call this sentimentality, and while I agree that I am prone to being sentimental about my friends, this is something more. I will do whatever I can to honor not only the friendships I have, but also the friendships that I had.

It pains me to let people go, even when it is so obvious that it’s for the best. But when that does happen, I try to separate what caused the friendship to end from what created the friendship in the first place, then I try not to trample on the good stuff. I always hope for reunion and reconciliation while learning from my mistakes.

Some people drift simply because life and its demands dictate that we spend our valuable minutes elsewhere and so friendships don’t necessarily end, they just fade. Those friendships that have the possibility of reblooming with a little time and TLC is why I love Facebook. It has been such a blessing to be able to reunite or at least stay in touch with so many people I never intended to loose track of, but did. It gives me joy just to be in minimal contact with old friends… keeping tabs… not in a creepy or gossipy sense, but because my heart is built that way. Simply put, if you mattered to me then, you matter to me now.

Lots of people have crossed that threshold. But there are a select few whom I will not, never ever, allow to drift.  Maybe I should say here that I hope they’d never want to. But seriously, you’d have to shoot me dead and sever my arm from my corpse for me to (metaphorically, of course) ever let them go. These people are my tribe. I think they know who they are. As I reflect on this, a few might not realize they they are–which means I need to make some phone calls. But seriously, I find these people if I have to. (Again, not creepy at all, right?) This tribe is not exclusive. It can definitely grow, and I am very happy enough to say that I have people in my life now who, I believe, would be there for me through thick and thin, and would let me be there for them like these special few have over the years.

I know that I am not a perfect friend, but I try to be the best one I can be. Even those who know me best might be surprised at the depth of feeling I carry because (as talkative and open as I can be) I have a hard time telling them. And, seriously, God has put some truly exceptional people in my path and so I’d be crazy not to feel that way. I am truly One Lucky Girl to be able to share life with them. All of them.

I guess, to put it in simply, and I’ve said this before: Once I love somebody, I never ever stop.

I’ve been putting this off for awhile now. [Otherwise known as the post I’ve been composing in my head for months].

So there’s this meme that’s been floating around the internets and Facebook– 30 posts of truth. I first heard about it from Sweetney, and I wanted to participate immediately, but when I looked at the 30 topics my first thought was dang, these are going to be hard.

I don’t like writing unless I can be honest. And I find that I will sit for an hour and work a paragraph until it says exactly what I want it to say. I don’t ever want to publish a word here that I don’t absolutely mean… I shy away from writing anything that I suspect I won’t want to stand behind a year or two or five from now. This can be a good thing, because I am cautious about what I write here…and caution is good. But it can also be bad because it keeps me from really laying some good, honest, nitty-gritty-where-my-life-is-in-the-trenches-stuff out there. It keeps me from taking risks.

And just why am I afraid to let myself write what I think today, knowing that it’s okay if I grow and change my mind somewhere down the line? Is that so wrong? Is that so bad?

All of that is to say, I wanted to do this 30 posts of truth, but I was scared–skeerd–to do it. What if I [gasp] look bad? Like THAT’s never happened before. Get over yourself, woman!

So, to begin — Day 1 of the 30 posts of truth: Something I hate about myself:  Okay, to begin, there are numerous things I dislike about myself. Not the least of which are these: I don’t always know when to shut up. And when I’m talking too much, I often say awkward things. This happened just last night at a wedding reception. I’ll spare the details because they really aren’t that good. It wasn’t exactly an example of putting my foot in my mouth as mucha s it was, just an awkward remark that made no sense to anybody except for the little person in my head who flips the “blurt” switch in my brain from time to time.

Anyway, I’ve been putting off writing this first of 30 days of truth posts because even though it says it just has to be a thing I hate about myself, I keep focusing on the thing I hate most about myself. And that is a difficult thing to think about, let alone write about… especially considering my aforementioned tendancy to only want to write things exactly as I mean them, and also not to write anything that I might regret later.

Before I tell you what it is, I’ll tell you that I’ve had this tendency for as long as I can remember. I used to take pride in and contragulate myself in my skills in it, but as I’ve grown older it has cost me a shocking amount of peace and enjoyment out of life. I’ve tried to correct it in myself, I’ve tried to just flat-out stop doing it, of no avail. I’ve prayed about it. I’ve beat myself up over it so many more times than I could even say. It impacts my relationships with people–particularly those I’ve lived with past and present. I’ve let it (and the things it touches) get the best of me and take the joy out of my life.

And though, when some people read this, they will roll their eyes and say, “Good lord, woman, just freaking grow up already,” I’ll tell you that it’s not a simple matter of being more disciplined. Or, if it is, then I guess I’ll just have to face facts that I am not a very disciplined person. But I’m here to tell you that procrastination–my hugest demon, ever–is a nasty, nasty thing to grapple with. It’s not just a matter of getting off one’s lazy rear end. It’s more than just shutting down the computer or turning off the tv. It has created such disorder and chaos in my career and personal life. It makes me less effective and I hate that. But some how that isn’t enough to get me to stop doing it.  I feel like such a hypocrite when my students who are chronic procrastinators ask me for extentions on papers and projects, and I tell them no. (sometimes I tell them yes). But part of it is that I know that they will not get it done until they have to. And I know this because I am the same way.

I wish I was not this way. I wish I was the kind of person who had a schedule and kept to it. I hate the fact that minor inconveniences become a major wrench because I’ve backed myself into a corner with no time to work my way out of it.

I have some theories. Procrastination is indicative of boredom. Indicative of a lack of structure, so instead of “having” time, I’m constantly “stealing” time. Indicative of mild depression. Or perhaps more directly, indicative of someone who just doesn’t want to do this stuff they’re procrastinating. Can that even be true? Because if it is, I don’t want to do most things that promote a smooth and orderly home and blossoming career.

Maybe it’s time to think about whether or not I even want to do the things I procrastinate doing. Maybe my procrastination problem is a big symptom that I am not really living an authentic life. I mean, getting out my camera never feels like a chore. Reading good stuff never feels like a chore. Being outside never feels like a chore. Being with my students never feels like a chore. 

I know that there will always be things that I don’t want to do that I  have to do… like loading the dishwasher and folding the laundry. But what about those other things? That stack of random stuff in the office that I don’t want to lose but needs to be put away? That decorating project I seem to really want to do? That stack of papers that need to be graded because it’s my damn job? That thesis that hasen’t been written to further my career? What about those things?

Sometimes I can’t help but wonder what’s wrong with me? Sometimes I just feel like a big piece of crap. When I talk to others about it, they always assure me that this is not the case. They’re always supportive. But maybe what they’re thinking is something else. Or maybe it’s just me thinking that of myself. This… this problem of mine–it’s very sneaky… it deepens my insecurity… in prompts me to question the good and loving support of friends and family.

If it does all of that– if it costs me so much– why is it that I have not made the necessary changes? What exactly is my problem?

If only I knew.

Monday morning, we were getting ready for school. It had actually been a better than average morning, especially good for a Monday. I was sorting out socks to find a pair for her and Super L to wear when Little Miss G said something particularly hurtful to me. I let it get to me, and it stung because she touched upon something that I’ve been trying very hard to improve. And I have improved, but it has cost me in other ways. And basically, while fuming and bristling at her remark, I came to this conclusion: She just doesn’t know.

Unfortunately, that did not stop me from very slowly, and with measured precision, lay into her. Rather than blow up and shout, I expounded on the half-dozen ways in which she was out of line. Please forgive the metaphor, but I set my eight year old daughter in my cross-hairs and basically vented a week’s worth of aggravation in a lecture that lasted no less than 10 minutes. I basically argued her into a corner from which there was no escape. My husband will readily tell you that my ability to do this to is quite formidable. The fact that I verbally overpowered her simply because I could is really just wretched. Especially especially when I knew that she just didn’t know how much her words would hurt me, and to a certain extent, how inaccurate her assessment was that morning. And the longer I lectured her, the worse I felt. I can only imagine how she felt.

After dropping both girls off at school, I called John and talked to to him about it on the way to work. As usual, he was so good. He offered up some insights about her; he spoke some truth about her that I think we both needed someone to say–namely that she is a little girl, particularly for her age. A sweet little girl who is nowhere near as comfortable in her own skin as her younger sister. And sometimes we just expect too much from her.

He was right of course. Within a her strong body lies a delicate soul, even though she herself can be quite rough with her words and attitude. And I am often not fair. I am beginning to see that she her reticence to share her feelings may not be so much a choice she is making to be private, but more from being unsure as to how to say what she really means. And it’s no wonder that she would hesitate. Monday, she tried to tell me something, and I blew it. I shut her down. If only I knew when she is going to give me another opportunity to listen.

If only I knew what it was like for her, to walk a mile in her kid-sized shoes. Sometimes I feel like I am about seven years behind in understanding her. I can’t help but wonder if this is the price I’ve paid for working so much when she was a baby and a toddler. Did I miss some magical time that would have given me the ability to sort that beautiful puzzle-heart of hers? Or, worse, do I continue to miss it despite my efforts to be more balanced in my career and personal life? Is she showing me the pieces and I’m just not noticing them?

Or, is this just who my precious girl is, and anybody worthy of her love is going to have to wait on the shore of her heart, gaze into the rippling waves, and wait until she is good and ready to give them a clear view of what lies beneath the surface? If only I knew.

[see? I can’t even choose a metaphor for her and stick with it.]

It’s hard for me to admit that I have a difficult time identifying with and understanding my daughter, although I suspect it readily shows to some of my more observant friends and family members. I’ve failed her so many times, and it hurts to say so because she’s my beautiful puzzle. My precious one. The one who is going to make me work really, really hard. Her heart requires no less, and she certainly deserves the very best… even the kind of best that sometimes hurts to give.

But to know her better is my treasure. And so I’ll stand on her shore for as long as it takes.

Moments of grace.

2011 has been off to a rather interesting start. We have had something like eight snow days in the first six weeks of this year, and I firmly believe this has been by God’s design. This extra time at home has given me more time with my kids, and more time for reflection. I’ve been able to think more about where I’m heading in terms of family and career rather than run the gauntlet of my typical week.

Good things are happening. I have a new church home and I love it. I love their approach to missions and their focus on reaching out to the homeless and the “invisible” suffering and the marginalized right here in our own communities as well as supporting an orphanage in Mexico. The teaching is Biblical, but something that I can chew on throughout the week and keeps me wanting to go back for more. I’ve been able to connect with a small Bible study group. And, it is no small thing that my husband and kids seem to enjoy it, too. That, truly, is an answer to prayer.

Our long-term goal of getting a larger home is finally close enough that we can start talking about them in terms of “next year” rather than in terms of “hopefully,” “maybe,” or “the three-year plan.” Of course, even if we are able to purchase a new home next year, it is still a hopefully, barring any unpleasant or unforeseen circumstances. But, even if we cannot, it feels good to know that we are moving in the right direction in terms of financial stability.

These last six weeks, I’ve been able to do more “heart”work and soul-searching and trying to make sure that my motivations are good and God-honoring as it pertains to my goals and desires. I truly believe that God is going to bless us in the months ahead…I just have to be sure that remain patient and obedient with His timing, and to faithfully continue the work He has given me to the best of my ability. 2011 has had some real moments of grace and clarity and peace, for which I am extremely grateful.