28 September 2010


A red leaf falls in your path.

A babbling toddler stops to pick up a feather.

A four year old in complete Sheriff gear races his big wheel down the sidewalk to watch football practice.

A fireplace is lit for the first time of the season while water destined for hot chocolate boils on the stove.

Selah, a pause. A specific instruction to stop the previous activity of reading or walking or rushing through mounds of laundry and weigh the meaning of what has just been spoken or otherwise sensed.

After so much heat and sweat, Fall is finally beginning. What's not to love about Fall with its cooling breezes, colorful trees, and amazing treats made out of apples and pumpkins?

Way too quickly this time of change jumps into a time of preparation and hurriedness as the rush of the holidays creeps further and further back into these months of just Fall.

Just Fall, not Halloween, not Thanksgiving, and certainly not Christmas. Just Fall, leaves that are still mostly green but just tinting towards red. Just Fall, warm enough some days to still sit outside and eat a popsicle after dinner. Just Fall, when we sit around a fire and listen to birds preparing for their flights away from the upcoming frost.

This is Just Fall.
Join me in a pause and weigh the meaning of what we have just seen before plunging forward into what will be next.


24 September 2010


Wind blew in wave after wave through our open windows last night.

I'm not talking gentle breeze. These were the kinds of gusts that made me wonder if we had been transported to the edge of a hurricane. Branches and leaves from the Ash tree madly danced around. I'm certain many of them escaped from the hold the tree had on them and I will find them lying exhausted from their dance on the ground this morning.

Whenever we begin to question an issue of construction quality of our house, we rest knowing a well-known builder in town built this house for himself and lived here for 15 years. I guess that implies I don't believe he would have cut corners on his own home and this house probably won't blow over minus a tornado touchdown.

The wind fascinates me not only because I'm concerned about whether or not our house will still be standing in the morning, but for the metaphoric reasons of life blowing and swirling around me.

Right now we're adjusting to the changes of being back in preschool, returning to Bible Study lessons, reconnecting into groups of friends, and missing daddy while he studies furiously.

The hot summer wind that blew across the wide open space of day after day of unscheduled time is gone and I'm actually thankful to be swept into something new.

For me the new means fresh opportunities.

bok choy in stir fry
preparing to be the provider of Thanksgiving dinner for 30 at the Rock Castle
crochet flowers and knitting adult sized sweaters
girl time with Amelie while Asher cuts and practices letters at school

I hear the next tidal wave of a wind gust building up in the trees outside.

I do find comfort in trusting the builder who constructed this house, but I find far greater comfort in knowing the Creator of my soul. And I rest in knowing the winds He sends can not harm the soul He created.

22 September 2010

Mental snapshots

Asher asked me to close my eyes promising he would bring me a surprise. Even with my eyes closed, I knew where he was going. He ran off the porch through the still wet grass to our exploding mum bush. When he declared I could open my eyes again, a purple flower sat on the arm of the red rocking chair and my 4 year old boy told me he will always love me, even when he goes to school.

My heart melted and I wanted to stop time and record his promises to always tell me that he loves me. There is no pause button in this continuum of time and so I settled for a snapshot.

A mental snapshot.

I looked in his sweet face, studied the water droplets still on the flower, and replayed his little boy voice over and over and then I closed my eyes and made a silent "click."

Recorded, forever in my mind.

To read more about mental snapshots, check out my Pantagraph column from this past weekend.

20 September 2010


Flashback to Homecoming in the early 1990's.

Purple, or maybe aqua, suede skirt with blocked silk shirt of an equally bright color.

Next year velvet is in and get ready to explain why if you show up to the Homecoming dance in anything other than a velvet dress.

And now flash forward to Homecoming 2010.

Super short strapless dress with a bubble skirt. Sequins and flashy bling in just the perfect proportion.

I thought we were just going out to dinner on Saturday night because I was craving Olive Garden's salad and capellini pomodoro. But once we got there, my obsession became getting the best possible view of the Homecoming crowd.

Yes, I already transformed into one of those mothers who whispers to her husband about whether they would ever let their daughter out of the house in such a revealing skirt!

I mumbled to the hostess on the way to our table about how early Homecoming is this year and how crowded all of these kids make the restaurant for the rest of us "normal" people. But of course I chose the chair at our table with the best view. I continued to watch the flow of groups of girls giggling to the bathroom and nervous guys wondering how much longer they have to hang out in the uncomfortable suits and ties.

Oh what fun we had! I think I have more fun watching Homecomings and Proms as a spectator than I ever did as a participant.

Just please poke me if you hear me exclaiming over the styles too loudly. I still can't get over the fashion changes and will begin praying now that skirt length styles will start going down again before Amelie ever reaches high school.

16 September 2010


I love my kids. I love to snuggle and hug them. I've started to love laying with Asher at nights while he falls asleep. I like to be close to them. Even though physical touch is not one of my top love languages, I completely understand the need to show love through hugs and cuddles.

But I don't love working while being cuddled and hugged. In this picture, it is not Amelie wearing the cowboy hat, but of course the Sheriff who is snuggled in so close to Mommy working at the computer that all you can see is his hat.

Veteran moms tell me to enjoy these days because eventually they will be too embarrassed to be so close to me. Someday Amelie won't feel the need to position herself between me and whatever countertop I happen to be working at. Asher won't insist on sidling as close as he can to me in restaurant booths. And as hard as it might be to believe, they won't need to pile on top of me whenever I sit on the couch.

So in these days of claustrophobic touch, I am learning to love to be close!

14 September 2010


Why do you read?

Or maybe I should first ask, Do you read?

On top of the standard books, magazines, and newspapers we have so much reading material waiting for our eyes to land upon. Blogs, facebook updates, online newsletters and news sites. There literally is no end to the information available to read since new content is continually being produced.

Do you read to get information about what's going on in the world?
Do you read to be entertained?
Do you read to keep up with the lives of friends?

I read for all of those reasons and more that I'm not even aware of, and I'm wondering if I'm alone in the way I spend afternoons curled up turning page after page of a good novel?

How many people sit down, open the cover of a book and flip pages?

Really is there a need for that kind of reading anymore?

As my husband often says, it seems like there are so many more exciting things to do than sit down and read. He forgets how much he enjoys a good story until we go on vacation and he reads his quarterly book. Then we've been known to stop at a bookstore so he can grab another one and soak in as much reading time as possible until we return home and he once again forgets that reading isn't boring.

So, why do I read? I read because I do think it is exciting. I love learning about the lives of people not like me and also feel normal knowing there are people exactly like me.

I read not because I need to escape from my daily life, but because the experiences I learn about in books enhance my daily life. Asher and I read a history of cowboys and from the information I learned, I've been in wonder all summer about the amazing invention of barbed wire!

For years, I neglected my love of reading because of busyness, a feeling of needing to be more productive, and because I spend so much time reading books to my kids. But this summer I've rediscovered the joy of being so caught up in what will happen to Katniss Everdeen and Lisbeth Salander and I'm so thankful to be reminded of why I read.

Take a minute to think about it, why do you read?

10 September 2010

Yes, you can!

No smoking.

No children in the front seat.
No pets allowed.
No digging.
Asher has been really curious about signs that have a circle with a line through it.

He constantly is asking me, "What are you not supposed to do?" while pointing to yet another warning about how death could be imminent if you wear a necklace while sliding down the slide or wear shoes while playing on the McDonald's playland.

With my heightened awareness of what we're not supposed to do, I've realized most of these signs relate to children. In one way, it confirms what I've been telling my children about being cautious. But in another way, if we took absolutely seriously every single one of these signs we would be afraid to do anything.

I'm sure each of these warning signs came from a tragedy. A freak accident where a child did become injured after doing what the sign now forbids doing. And I don't take the fact that accidents happen lightly.

But I wonder where all of the signs telling me what I can do are? What about a sign with a circle and no line through it that tells me to go ahead and pick the flowers, enjoy the sun on my face, run freely down the sidewalk. Where are those kind of signs? The ones that say, "Yes, go ahead and enjoy all the fun of life."

Even in my parenting, I find myself constantly shouting out the "no's."

Don't say that word about pottys anymore!
Don't wear more than one pair of underwear at a time!
Don't put Cheerios in your hair!
Don't drink the water from the sandtable!

Don't, No, You can't, Never.

Maybe today I will try to shout out only the "yes's."

Yes! Give your sister a kiss!
Yes! Take turns on the slide!
Yes! Eat more Jello!
Yes! Use more chalk!

Yes! You can!

07 September 2010

Almost a missed opportunity

Seven years ago today, Walter and I forgot to do something we had looked forward to for months.

As an engaged couple who intended to spend our wedding night at a hotel across the parking lot from Panera, we talked on our weekly visit to get bagels and coffee about the great fun it would be to simply wake up and walk over for yummy cinnamon crunch bagels and hazelnut coffee.

So on the morning after our wedding, we brought our suitcases, leftover cake, balloons, and bulky wedding dress to the car and then proceeded to get into the car, turn it on, and drive the short distance over to our favorite breakfast spot! I think we actually turned into the parking spot of Panera and were about to get out of the car when I realized we had just missed the very thing we were so looking forward to!

The luxury of walking to Panera had passed.

Never ones to waste an opportunity, you can guess what we did. Yes, we drove back to our parking spot by the hotel and got out of the car so we could walk back to the same spot we had just driven to. Almost a missed opportunity.

I think much of life is a missed opportunity. Things I've talked about enjoying for years are happening right now and I'm driving on by without fully loving the experience.

Yes, this is life and it is what I've looked forward to!

02 September 2010

A billion rewards

We joined Walter at work for lunch yesterday. It's been two years since I left my paying job at the same office building where he works, so I looked forward to going back in for a visit. After the four of us ate our pizza without too much commotion, we walked through the space where I used to sit. It's been only two years, but in the ever changing corporate world, it might as well be an eternity.

A cleaning staff member must have grabbed everyone's name plate, mixed them all up in a bag, and returned them at random to offices and cube aisles. No one sits in the same spot and I recognized about one in five names. Where a row of windows once allowed light onto the floor, managers enjoyed their own private sunshiny real estate in their newly converted office space.

With so many physical changes on the floor, it would take me weeks to understand the workflow and assignment shifts that all of these moves represent. And I feel a twinge of sadness knowing that just two years later I would be lost if I reentered the department that I had once been such a part of.

As we walked through the doors of SC-4, Asher asked where we were going and why Mommy used to have a job and why Mommy doesn't still have a job so Bekah can watch him again.

I wonder those things too.

Don't misunderstand. I will never regret staying home with my kids.

This is absolutely what I want to be doing and I do not take it for granted that Walter's hard work allows me to do this. But some days I get nostalgic and think about the old days when I didn't get asked to play "Cowboy is coming" ten times before ten o'clock but finished ten research requests before ten o'clock.

Being a stay at home mom has a billion rewards but I don't know that we often acknowledge it has a hundred sacrifices. Clearly the billion outweighs the hundred, but every once in a while
I think the sacrifice needs to be noticed and understood.

Thanks for noticing and understanding.