Friday, November 23, 2012


We've been married for sixteen years.
We've been happy.
We've been sad.
We've been broke.
We've been broken.
We've been dreamers.
We've been screamers.
We've been lazy.
We've been crazy.
We've been fun.
We've thought we were done.
We've agreed.
We've agreed to disagree.
We've gained weight.
We've had to wait.
We've had babies.
We've acted like babies.
We've been hurt.
We've been healed.
We've worked together.
We've fought each other.
We've been forgiven. 

We've been loved.

We've been right.
We've been wrong.
We've been changed.
We've been redeemed.
We've been redeemed by grace.
We've been redeemed by God's grace.
We've been married for sixteen years.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Holding On and Letting Go, Part Three

How are we supposed to know if we are holding on to and letting go of the wrong things?  I think it takes a different vision.  We have to get our eyes off of the here and now and look to eternity.  If we could have an eternal, birds-eye perspective of the things we go through in this life it might change what we hold on to.

It's kind of like Monday morning quarter backing or coaching.  I'm sure tomorrow all the Vikings fans will be second guessing Frasier's decision to not go for two or some of Ponder's moves.  It's easy to see now that we know the outcome. 

When I was in High School I was involved in student council.  One of the jobs we did was planning Sno Daze, the winter festival.  We had royalty from each grade that were crowned at a pepfest on Friday during school.  This was a big school with thousands of kids.

So during the pepfest we had teachers crowning the winners.  For some reason, we didn't have it written down so we were just telling them who to crown which in retrospect seems really, really stupid.  It all was going along famously until we crowned the seniors.  We told them to crown "Molly", but unfortunately there was also a girl on the court named "Mari".  You can see how in a loud gym full of high school kids that mistake could be made.  And we crowned the wrong girl!

 After it happened, I felt like the world stopped.  We all kind of freaked.  Then someone suggested that we didn't really need to say anything.  Who would ever know? 

Until someone aptly remembered the Sno Daze edition of the school paper was being handed to students on the way out of the pepfest.  On the front page were the pictures of all the winners.  So, Molly was robbed of her crowning moment.  I think the whole dance line wanted to kill us.  And it seemed horrible.  Really, really horrible.  To the seventeen year old me, it was the end of the world.

Is that how our earthly worries and comings and goings will look through eternal eyes?  I know that's not a perfect example.  The things we go through here can be hard, horrible and sad.  But instead of grasping on to the gracious love of Jesus, we let go.  We walk away and lose heart.  Small decision, by small decision turn to our own way.  We hold on to the ways of the world; materialism, selfishness, immorality and other things when we should be holding on to Jesus.

2 Corinthians 4: 16-18 says,
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
When Paul wrote this, he was suffering.  He suffered a lot through his life and ministry.  He was beaten, imprisoned, persecuted and shipwrecked.  I wouldn't exactly call those light and momentary troubles.  But as he kept his gaze fixed on Jesus and the world beyond this he realized it was nothing.  He was looking toward eternal glory.

I am usually so bogged down dealing with laundry and cooking and people and even church stuff that my eyes are not fixed on what is unseen.  If I could allow God to change my vision through more time in the Bible, I think it would be abundantly clear what to hold on to and what to let go of.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Holding on and Letting Go, Part Two

While we were on vacation this summer, I found myself standing in the closet of every woman’s dreams.  Shelves of shoes and purses.  And drawers full of jewelry.  The owner of this fabulous closet was showing us the shopping bags she brought in while there were fires burning near her house. 

The idea was that if the house was going to burn, she’d go into the closet and start shoving as much jewelry as possible into the shopping bags.  In the same thought she realized it’s too much!  Just let it burn.

When I got home to my own house, I started wondering what I would want to hold on to.  I honestly couldn’t think of much I would care about in my house except the pictures.  Everything else is old, broken or easily replaceable.

However, there are certainly other things in my life that I hold on to.  All this got me thinking that we often hold on to the things we should be letting go of and let go of the very things we should be holding on to.

I am embarrassed to admit how bad my judgment is on such matters.  I hold on to my rights, my opinions, my anger, my time, my money, my kids and my wants like they’re a life preserver.

Equally shocking, I easily let go of prayer, Bible study, commitments, faithfulness, forgiveness and fellowship as if they are of minimal importance.

It seems I have it all backwards.  The things that we need to hold on to are not going to make sense in this world.  It would be like being in the basement during a fire, throwing old potatoes in a shopping bag while letting the fine jewelry and dishes and art to the flames.

Just like we have to let go of the monkey bar to move to the next rung, we have to let go of the things this world values.  Are we holding on to the right things?

I’m not so sure.  I think I might have it all backwards.

“I have learned that faith means trusting in advance what will only make sense in reverse”  Philip Yancey

What I mean, brothers and sisters, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they do not; those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep;  those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.

1 Corinthians 7:29-31

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Holding On and Letting Go, Part One

This has been such a great summer.  We’ve travelled, slept in, spent a lot of time at the beach and watching movies.  I’ve enjoyed it so much.

Maybe I partially cherished it just a little extra because I knew today was coming.  The day when all the babies would finally get super fun to hang around.  They sleep at night and like the same shows as I do.  And just when they get super wonderful, semi-helpful and downright fabulous to be around, they have to go to school.

This year for the first time, all of the kids in our house went to school.  I’ve been telling people all year that I’m fine and ready to move on to the next stage, which I am.  Totally I am more than ready.  But this weekend that nagging feeling kept creeping up on me. 

I’m ready to move on, but it’s just so hard letting go.  Just like when you learn to do the monkey bars and you have to let go to grab on to the next one.  It’s a little scary.  I would rather just hang on the bar I already had a good grip on.  I was happy and comfortable there. 

(Google Images)

So it seem that being ready to move on, implies the fact that we must let go.  Today I got up at 6:00 a.m.  What a horrible time to wake up.  I was liking the 8 or 8:30 we got up to in the summer.  We got everyone fed, dressed and ready to roll.

Maren was so excited for kindergarten.


She did her own hair.  I’ve trained her to be independent like that.

They all came out for the obligatory picture.



And then they were gone.  After 13 years of wondering if I would ever get a moments peace or get to go to the bathroom by myself, the house was quiet.  I have to say quiet wasn’t so bad.  It was actually kind of nice.

Then I played for a while.  I caught up with a friend.  I ate a lot of pizza here.


And I walked to my favorite candy shop for dessert.

I got home in time to see happy faces get off the bus and bike back down the driveway.



That’s right, my kindergartner can ride a two wheeler.

Even though letting go can be hard, it seems that life is pretty good on the next monkey bar too.  If I never let go, I’ll never get to grab onto the next ones!  And that would be a crying shame.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

This Doesn’t Look Like Disney World

It’s always fun to dream about where to go on vacation.  Maybe somewhere warm and sunny or rustic with mountains.  I’ve pinned and researched all sorts of fabulous trips.  We could visit Mickey or relax in Mexico.

It plays out perfectly in my head and on my Pinterest board.  A happy family, singing in the car, dressed in matching Mount Rushmore T-shirts.  Ok scratch the shirts.  That’s too cheesy even for my dream.

But in reality it usually turns into a bad scene from a Chevy Chase movie.  And then the biggest bubble popper of all…the budget.

We had some ideas of places we wanted to go this summer and it just wasn’t possible.  We did end up going to my parents in Colorado at the last minute.  It’s not exactly Disney World or Alaska or Glacier National Park, but one night as I was walking around the block chatting with one of my kids I realized something important.

Vacation is less about where we go and more about who we’re with.  Wherever we are, when we get a chance to slow down, get away from the norm, and have more time with our family that’s what makes a great vacation.

I’m thankful for the walks we had around the block and hikes through Garden of the Gods. The talks along the highway. All things we don’t have the luxury of in the hustle and bustle of real life.

That can be accomplished at home or wherever your roam.  In Alaska or at Disney world or Grandma’s or the local KOA. 

It’s about people not place. It’s about experience, not expense.   And it’s about time not about tourism.  It’s about connecting, not conquering. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Heart Champs

It’s back to school time.  And for many kids and parents it’s also time to gear up for sports.  There are try outs, cuts, people who don’t make the level they want.  There are bench warmers and starters. 

I’m super glad that as an adult runner I don’t have to care about that stuff.  Because I am never embarrassed to share my time from a race.  Umm or come in behind someone I clearly should have been better than.  Or an 65 year old speed walker.  I mean I am totally ok with that.  So I may be a teeny little bit more competitive than I thought. 

But truly, for the most part, I run in races just for fun.  I know I won’t win.  Well, maybe a little part of me hoped I might be able to take Kara Goucher in the Grandma’s Half this year.  Bwahaha! 

But if just little old slow me can get competitive, is it a surprise kids on sports teams are?  Or their parents?

It’s hard to know who is worse really.  If you mess with me or my goals or my times, I might be annoyed, but if you mess with my kids…get ready for mama bear baby!

I’m already hearing and reading a lot of great things about the young athletes in our world.  No doubt there are a lot of talented kids out there.

So even though athletics are great and kids can learn a lot through them and stay fit, let’s not get carried away.  Because what is the most important thing in life?  Is it winning or being the best?

Not if you are a Christian.  As a parent, I want to raise champions of the heart.  I want to encourage humility, faithfulness, hard work, peace and love.  Those are things that will last and count for eternity.  Being the mom screaming from the bleachers at a basketball game is not the way to go about that.  Not that I would know.

A few years ago when our kids were in baseball, we had to play the same team three times.  They were three hundred times better than us.  Or so it seemed.  Their coach was a jerk and would run up the score.

The final time we played them, Mike and I were not watching as encouraging builders of heart champs.  As we stepped back from that game we realized this is little league.  They are in grade school.  These other kids are doing great. 

So I have to check my heart first as an “athlete” myself.  Am I competing for the glory of God?  Do I encourage others along the course?  Do I want to win at all costs?

Then I need to check my heart as a parent.  Do I want the best for my kid or for my kid to be the best?  What other lessons can we learn besides winning?  How about some of the fruit of the Spirit?  Wouldn’t sports be great with a little love, joy, peace, patience and humility?

At the end of the day, I care about my kids’ hearts.  I want them to be following and reflecting Jesus.  It means more than the score or the finish or the place on the team. That’s what Champions of the heart are made of. 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.  Galatians 5:22-23

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


It’s been a while since I wrote a blog post.  Frankly, it’s never my turn to be on the computer!

Well, it’s true the computer is in high demand around here.  But it’s still mine so I can cut in line anytime I want. 

I like writing because it’s a good way for me to process my thoughts on stuff.  But the thing that has made me stay away from blogging and social media more and more is the face that it all feels fake.  I just read an article about the cover of a magazine that has Duchess Kate on it. However, it’s not her. It’s fake.   What’s the point of that?

I don’t want to write to look like a good mom or have people compliment me or make my life look way more perfect and beautiful than it really is.  There’s that temptation to write and wait to see who likes it or commented on it. 

It’s also tempting to show only the good pictures and do special outings just for the photo ops and blog fodder. 

And that’s not what I want to do.  In my writing, and social media and real life I want to be genuine.  Just the real me.  Good days, bad days.  Happy things, sad things.  Fun things, difficult things.  Bad hair days and thrift store clothes.

Whatever it is, I want to be real.  I’m so tired of reading blogs and articles and facebook posts and wondering if it’s real. 

And things will have to change a little.  Although having teenage and middle school kids could provide such amazing writing opportunity, it’s not the same as writing about a temper tantrum when they were two.  They need some privacy.  After all, there is such a thing as being TOO real!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Righting the Wrongs of the World

There are so many things that are wrong in the world:  war, sickness, starvation, poverty.  There are things that are wrong closer to home like divorce, depression, unemployment and the economy.  Sometimes it doesn’t seem worth it to keep bringing babies into this stinky, fallen world.

I know someone who was just days away from having her first baby when she found out she might be losing her job.  What horrible timing!  The stress of worrying about your job and income and bills could easily steal all the joy and expectancy of having a baby.

I didn’t realize that I was wrong until my own daughter had her birthday yesterday.  Annie turned 7. My joyful, carefree little girl.  No matter how my day was or what’s going on in my world, when I hear her laugh or sing or chatter those other things just melt away.



Don’t you think it’s true?  Babies can right the wrongs of the world.

No matter what I am facing in life, when I looked into the eyes of my baby it didn’t matter.   When I look at my children I can see the bright side.  I can fight to do better.  I can remember what my true priorities are. 


Maybe it’s because babies are such a miraculous reminder of God’s grace they can’t help but give us hope.  Hope for something better, hope for the future, and hope for Christ. 

I know it’s a gross overstatement that babies can right all the wrongs in the world.  I mean babies can’t actually cure cancer or stop war.  They may not be able to right all the wrongs in the world, but MY babies can right all the wrongs in MY world. 

And point me in the right direction, towards hope.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Shoot. I did it again. I won the stinkin’ lottery. I don’t even know why I entered. Or why I pay to be tortured.

Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I ran. Or where my running shoes are.

I don’t even like running. For real. Most days when I am out there I wonder what on earth I am doing. It hurts. It’s hard work. It can get boring. It is either blazing hot or wicked cold. Sometimes it’s raining and windy. Many days it feels like torture.

The thing is though that there are also days that are out of this world good. Days where the sun is shining and the breeze is blowing. Days where running is effortless and I feel like I could run for miles.

There are days when I accomplish something that I never thought I could do and I know I’m hooked. And it’s that feeling, as rare as it may be among tough days, that makes running relentless.

So when those half marathon lottery deadlines loom, I can’t keep myself from signing up. I can even hope I won’t get in. But once I start training and am swept into that love/hate relationship of pain and glory I know I’m in the right place.

Running is relentless. It keeps chasing me. Even though at times I loathe it, ignore it or scoff at it. I can’t walk away. Somewhere out on the trail it became part of me. When I'm not running, I know I should be. And deep down, I want to be.

These past few months when I’ve been away from running, I’ve been busy. I started working. We’ve had a bazillion basketball games and kids activities. When I get home from work I have a bunch of laundry waiting for me.

I haven’t had time to read. I haven’t had the desire to write. And every time I go through a period of indifference or stubbornness, God reminds me He is relentless too.

He’s relentless in His love. God will never let go. When I don’t care, he does. When I turn my back, He’s still there with open arms. When I'm not looking to him I know I should be. And deep down I want to be.

He’ll never give up on me. So if we’re messed up, lonely, scared, or broken; His love never fails. It never quits. We all have a place in our hearts that longs for Him.

There’s no lottery or fee for the privilege of that relentless love.