Thursday, June 27, 2013

Halfway to ten more

Photo credit: Ben P.

It seems like I just hit publish on my Ten Amazing Years series finale, celebrating my first decade of marriage to Lee.

As of today, we are now halfway through the next ten.  I can mainly just say "ditto" to what I wrote back then.  But I will add that we are beginning to feel a little less like newlyweds.  In a good way.

Recently, a young wife of five years that we know and love mentioned that people have told her and her husband that they will feel less like newlyweds once they have kids.  She was discouraged by this and asked if that had been our experience.  We took it as a good sign that she chose to ask us.

I loved her question.  I would say that the most challenging times in our marriage have been the seasons where our circumstances magnified our differences more than our similarities.  One day Ben asked me about something.  I answered him, and it became apparent he had already discussed the matter with his dad when he replied, "How did you and Dad get so creepily on the same page?" So clearly, parenting hasn't provided the greatest challenges to our marital bliss.  Nor have finances, something I thank God for frequently!

We definitely have our different ways of approaching certain things.  Sometimes we set off a chain reaction of panic in each other because of our knee-jerk responses in those situations.  There is a very simple truth I try to remember when I am tempted to try to swoop in and grab control.  We are called to bear with one another in love.  If it means I have to live with the clutter another day so that Lee can be at peace with not losing track of something important, so what?

We drive each other crazy sometimes.  But I love him like crazy.  It just works.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013



In the flurry of summer life, I miss a lot of the details.


Today is a quiet day.  The first in a long time.


I am reveling in the sweetness of it!
The sweetness of these blackberries.


The sweetness of the little dots of light
begging to be rendered as bokeh.




I have a whole bunch of pictures
(and of course stories),
many of them uploaded and ready to go.

Wouldn't someone like to blog them for me?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

So many textures, so little time...


Photo 52, Week 24:  Texture

Oh my, I just dare you to spend a few days looking for interesting textures.

They are everywhere.


Whether you focus on them or not!


They are growing.  
On plants,


on animals...


outside and inside.






Then there are the textures that let you know it is really summer!


I'm pretty sure I'll be noticing texture for awhile longer.
They make the world so rich!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Wheels, Spectator Time and Accomplishments

How's that for a random topic?
That's because I'm catching up on three weeks of Photo 52.  Here goes.


Photo 52, Week 21:  Wheels
It's the Pedal Pub, a bar on wheels.
What do you suppose these women were drinking at 10 AM?


I LOVE to take these wheels downtown.
Which is the perfect place to get an amazing assortment of wheels.






Can you see her roller blades?
And a duck?






Photo 52, Week 22:  Photographer's Choice

It's spectator time (a.k.a. Summer I) in my world.
You know I love watching this boy play ball,
but he may be destined to be an umpire in the end.


And Bethany is my "less competitive"one--
but I think she looks pretty determined to come in at the head of the pack in this fun run.


Photo 52, Week 23:  Accomplishment

There are certainly lots of milestones being celebrated at the beginning of June.  We don't have anything big going on around here, but finding ways to make healthy foods delicious has been part of my agenda lately.  Now, for the first time ever, I am enjoying steamed broccoli.  Seems like a pretty good accomplishment to me!

And now?  I'm all caught up!  That's an accomplishment too, right?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013



Some might have said I arrived too late


that day last week when I went to the arboretum.


The tulips that just a few days prior were in all their glory


were now pretty well spent.


But there is a startling beauty in a life that's been poured out.


Breathtaking, really.


Could it be true that a life that's beyond its greatest beauty


hasn't even seen its better days yet?


Yesterday I had the privilege of sitting around the table with friends.




I told them about the "June Me", and we laughed, 
because we all know that in every life
something's gotta give.


They are all pouring out their lives.  Some are a little more spent than others.
But I love the way that each is differently spent.


I have this habit of thinking about how much I'm NOT doing.
I'm gonna call it what it is:  white middle-class Christian guilt.
I read articles like this by people I admire (and several I know personally) and think, 
"Why am I not actively involved in helping free young girls from the sex trade?"
for just one example.


But then I look around me, and I realize that for better or worse, and probably neither,
that's not the flower bed where I'm planted at the moment.
As of today
God hasn't put me somewhere more dramatic or tragic.  Yet.
Even though I am trying to pay attention
to what on earth He seems to have in store for me,


I'm here in the suburbs of the U.S. (where yes, I know, sex trafficking and homelessness exist)
and all the friends I saw yesterday are middle-aged, middle class, caucasian women like me.
And not like me.
One trains missionaries.  Two own businesses.
One has a house full to the brim with children and a husband who travels.  
One lives ever so graciously with intense physical pain that she rarely mentions.
They are all pouring out their lives serving the people God has placed around them.


But the one who really got to me?
The one who actually manages to get an awesome dinner on the table.
You know why she has time to do that?  She has a special needs child at home.
He receives in-home therapy, and she has to be there, pretty much 24/7.
She would love to do my "not much".  It looks like a lot to her.
She didn't say that.  She didn't have to.
She is more than spent, and what she has to show for it is, well, a family that is still functioning.
And a beautiful dinner on the table.  At her house, living by grace is delicious.  
She would probably happily settle for my frozen tortellini flavored grace 
if it meant her calendar was filled with kids' activities instead of therapists.
But she is blooming where she is planted.  She is breathtakingly beautiful.
And her son's life story is woven throughout with hope.


Next time I am judging the value of my life
by what I have to show for it in the "productivity" department,
I hope I'll stop
and remember that by that measure we all fail.

Lord, let me instead judge myself on the graciousness and love with which I am spent,
regardless of where, and how, and with whom I am spent.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Only an inch away


I've had a bit of an epiphany today.  But first, a conversation.


Bethany:  Mom, I'm 4'11".  Only one inch away.
Me:  One inch away from what?
Bethany: Five feet.
Me:  And then what?
Bethany:  I'll be happy!

I've blogged plenty (and recently) about contentment, but this was just another reminder.  
She then flopped down on my bed and said, "Well, at least I'm longer than the bed is wide."  
She's not an inch away from happy.  
Thank God for that.


I was thinking today about how at this time of year I get all frazzled with the details of life.  
All the graduation cards that should be bought and parties attended, 
deciding on whether this or that calendar item is a high enough priority to miss a kid's ballgame 
(pretty much no on all counts), 
random Vacation Bible School details that I can't begin to keep straight, 
among many others (forgot my checkbook to pay for youth camp today), 
cars, dryers, and assorted other things breaking.  
The list goes on.  And on.


This morning, in a moment of fog over what I must be forgetting, I didn't care.  Just. didn't. care.


That, my friends, was a freeing moment.


You know what I realized?


During most of the year, I am your go-to gal.  
I have time, I am thorough, I give attention to detail.
In the late spring and early summer, 
my calendar doesn't allow me to be that dependable. 
Usually I hate that. 


But not today.


Last Sunday as I was getting ready for worship, 
I very oddly got the idea that I should leave my Wonder Woman cape at home.
It just cracked me up.
Like a voice saying,  "You don't have to be a superhero."
I know, scandalous, right?
I do not worship myself, after all.
My efficiency.  My ability.  My reliability.  My virtue.
It's all a house of cards, subject to the wind.
I worship my God.  He is the Rock.


Today I'm issuing a disclaimer:
This month, if I agree to be a part of something,
it's the June me you're getting, not the February or March me.  
ADD, I'm calling it.  Attention to Detail Disorder.  
Take me or leave me.  


I am not an inch away from happy.
I am embracing June.  I AM happy.
Scatterbrained, and happy.