The Stuff of Life


Leave a comment

Love Proven on a Twisty Slide @ Inspire a Fire

My monthly blog post is up at Inspire a Fire.  It’s a little tiny blip of the whole story of my friendship with my best friend. I think about 16 years ago, God was like, “Well, these women are going to need each other because I’m going give give them a boatload of boys. I should probably I’m going to introduce them before that first boy arrives.” (We met when I was 8 months pregnant with my oldest.)

p6040056

A photo of those 6 boys before they became giants.

Love Proven on a Twisty Slide

A cute little story I wrote about my friend Marti and me was published in Guideposts a couple years ago.

The photo shoot is actually more exciting than the story, so I’ll take you behind the scenes.

It took place in mid-February. Outside. At a park. On a twisty slide. In Iowa. No coats allowed. What?!?

I suggested a photo at a coffee shop, because drinking a hot caffeinated beverage in a warm locale is more our style than balancing precariously on giant plastic playground equipment in arctic temps. But I guess they wanted to give Marti the opportunity to prove she is the friend I claimed her to be in my article. (A fair-weather friend never would have agreed to such unpleasantness. )

It was 20 degrees with an Iowa take-your-breath-away winter wind. The kind that forces tears out of your eyes and makes your nose drip.

In the photo my hand is nicely relaxed on the slide. It had been clenched in a fist in an effort to calm my shivering body, but the photographer told me it made me look like I was cold. With my other hand I held onto the red slide pole for dear life. Marti too was clamping her hand around that pole with all of her strength. (You can see that photo here.)

Read the rest of the story at Inspire a Fire.

 

 

 


Leave a comment

The Santa Dilemma @ Inspire a Fire

img_20161215_092417

My post at Inspire a Fire this month is about my experience with Lewis and the question of Santa Claus. You can read the first part here and follow the link to the rest of the story at Inspire a Fire.

The Santa Dilemma – Keeping Jesus at the Center of Christmas

“Mom, is Santa real?” my curious six-year-old asked as I tucked him in and kissed his cheek.

‘Here we go,’ I thought. I took a deep breath and went the history route as I did with his older brothers. Speaking truth, but leaving a little to the imagination.

“Well Lewis, there was a guy who lived a long time ago. He was called Saint Nicholas, and he was a very kind man who gave gifts to the poor and who loved children very much. His kindness is how the story of Santa Claus began.”

“Oh. I didn’t think he was real. Tomorrow I’m going to tell Michael that Santa is really Saint Nicholas, but now Santa is dead.”

Not exactly the response I was anticipating.

It is entirely possible he went to school the next day and attempted to dash the hopes and dreams of his classmates. But I’m pretty sure most children would choose to believe their parents over their classmate with a mohawk, so I didn’t feel too bad.

I take no issue with families who play the Santa game. Who create elaborate schemes to keep their kids believing in the jolly fat guy for years. I can see the fun in it. I just couldn’t do it. When my son asked me point blank, I could not look him in the eye and tell him this guy actually exists.

The rest of the story… The Santa Dilemma


Leave a comment

Milk Cartons, Tears and a Change in Seasons

september-pic-2016

(In my September post at Inspire a Fire, I reflect on the change of seasons in life and reminisce about the day I sent my baby to school.)

Homemade cheesebread with marinara sauce.

“Oh no, what if Lewis can’t open his milk carton?”

Those were the first five words on the back-to-school lunch menu and that was the thought that ran through my head sending a fresh waterfall of tears down my face. Yes, I read the school lunch menu and cried. And cried. And cried.

That was several years ago, but I remember it like it was several blinks ago.

Lewis was (and still is) my baby. The one I had to myself for four years while his brothers were in school. The one who sang wonderful made-up songs, daily made me laugh out loud and liked to wear the same way too small orange shirt. Every. Single. Day.

The one who wasn’t supposed to grow up.

What if he can’t open his milk carton? What if he gets lost? What if he gets hurt and wants his mommy? What if he gets tired and needs a nap? There was no end to the (often irrational) thoughts that filled my head as I sent my little man off to begin his own life adventures.

But I know deep down the reason I kept crying was not because Lewis might not be able to handle school. It was because I might not be able handle life without Lewis…

Head on over to Inspire a Fire to read the rest of the story – Milk Cartons, Tears and A Change in Seasons


Leave a comment

The Funny Thing About My Inspire a Fire Posts

Inspire a Fire June

I’m beginning to think my posts at Inspire a Fire are working against me. 😉

Last month I wrote about our moving lifestyle. How it works well for us, and how I have learned to enjoy it.

But about a week after it posted, it hit me that we are about to do this thing again, and that we don’t know where we are going next. And though I’m ready for it, it didn’t stop me from having about a 24-hour period of some serious anxiety. I’m a planner. And planning for the unknown is a bit tricky.

This month my post is about marriage and choosing love when you are not feeling it. In it I mentioned that Corey and I have learned to argue better since breast cancer because we don’t want to waste our time letting things simmer when we should be dealing with them and moving on.

A few days before it posted, we had an argument.

Next month I think I’ll write something about beach front property in Hawaii and hope for the best.

Here’s a link to my June post:

Have A More Meaningful Marriage by Choosing Love Every Morning


Leave a comment

The Blessing of Moving (@ Inspire a Fire)

moving

My monthly blog post is up at Inspire a Fire today. I reflected on our moving lifestyle, and why I don’t think we’re crazy. 🙂 Below you can read the start of the story and find a link to the full post.

I remember the day I realized I married a mover.

I’m not talking about a guy who drives a big truck and makes his money relocating other people. Corey wanted to move me. Every two or three years.

“It will be a great financial investment,” he said. “Plus you’ll get to live in a brand new house every few years.”

“Are you on drugs?” is what I wanted to say, but what came out was more like, “Can we explore our options before we decide on that game plan?”

I appreciated Corey’s goal. I understood that as a construction engineer, he could probably build a home economically, and we could make some money from its sale. But I was pretty sure he had grossly miscalculated the actual work of moving.  And what about putting down roots and turning a house into our home?

I lived in the same house from birth to age 18. To me,home had a specific non-changing address.

I wanted to settle into a cute little bungalow where we’d mark our kids’ ever-changing heights in Sharpie on the trim of a doorway and spend summer evenings relaxing on a front porch swing.

But that was not to be.

It was with much self-pity that I reluctantly gave in to my hubby’s desires and packed up our first
little house. As I bubble-wrapped dishes and mourned the loss of our plum trees, I had to remind myself that it wasn’t the end of the world.

I survived that first move, and I quickly grew to love the new home Corey built, secretly (or maybe not so secretly) hoping he would not make me move again.

Head to Inspire a Fire to read the rest of the story.


Leave a comment

Where I’m From – Family Heritage @ Inspire a Fire

IMG_0118

It’s my day to blog over at Inspire a Fire. It’s just a short sweet post about childhood memories including my own version of George Ella Lyon’s poem Where I’m From.

If need a creative challenge on this lovely Saturday, try writing your own Where I’m From.  It’s a lot of fun (unless you are not a word person, in which case it could be a torturous experience.)

Where I’m From – Family Heritage @ Inspire a Fire.


Leave a comment

New Year’s Resolutions and God’s Daily Renewed Mercies

January copy

I have the awesome opportunity to be a monthly blogger at Inspire a Fire.  The assigned topic for the month was “Setting Goals for the New Year.”

Goals are great, but I rarely (I can’t remember if I ever even have) set New Year’s Resolutions. You are invited to read the post to see what I have to say about it.

I have to be honest, when I sat down to do the final edits on this little post, there was a serious disconnect between my brain and my fingers on the keyboard. Sometimes your day just doesn’t go quite as planned, and that leads to non-cohesive thoughts. To quote my husband, who was quoting one of his favorite movies, “Officer, we have had one doozy of a day.”

So I guess what I’m saying is give me grace as you read it. 🙂 It’s quite possible that I misspelled my own name.

Goals and God’s Never-Ending Mercies