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Friday, September 11, 2015

America the Beautiful

We live in an amazing country.
14 years ago on a blue-sky sunshiny day, bad guys brought evil to us.
Tragedy. Trauma. Destruction and death.

But what did that evil bring out in the people of America?
Bravery. Selflessness. Prayer. Generosity.
That is uncommon in the world. Often, evil is met with fear, self preservation, despair, and greed.
What is the difference here? The difference is Christ. Our country was founded on Christian principles.
The influence of Christ has had a profound impact on our nation, who we are, what we value, how we respond to evil.

I was thankful then and I am thankful now that I was born in America. That the land I live in is filled with men and women who are willing to die to save others. Better love has no man than this, than to lay down his life for his friends. Or strangers.

I am thankful to God that He would bless a whole nation in response to our imperfect, inconsistent desire to try to follow His ways. He has made us a better people. Firefighters are willing to do the job of soldiers. Civilians become paramedics. We are kind, brave, and selfless because that is our heritage.

And now, the bad guys are terrorizing Syrians. People who were not blessed to be born in the land of the free and the home of the brave are facing the darkness of evil without the light of being surrounded by bravery, selflessness, prayer, and generosity. They live in the land of the bad guys. But we are still America, and our hearts break for their tragedy. The pictures of their despair as they try to outrun the dark make us weep. And, crazy enough, some of us are willing to send the light. In the face of the enemy, on their home turf, we go, we give, we mend, we pray.

2 days ago, I saw a picture of two Syrian kids being blocked from entering Macedonia. The next morning I woke singing:

There’s a call comes ringing over the restless wave,
“Send the light! Send the light!”
There are souls to rescue there are souls to save,
Send the light! Send the light!

Send the light, the blessèd Gospel light;
Let it shine from shore to shore!
Send the light, the blessèd Gospel light;
Let it shine forevermore!

We have heard the Macedonian call today,
“Send the light! Send the light!”
And a golden offering at the cross we lay,
Send the light! Send the light!

Let us pray that grace may everywhere abound,
“Send the light! Send the light!”
And a Christlike spirit everywhere be found,
Send the light! Send the light!

Let us not grow weary in the work of love,
“Send the light! Send the light!”
Let us gather jewels for a crown above,
Send the light! Send the light!

I have seen two ways to send some light to those drowning in darkness:


This Sunday – September 13, 2015  we are inviting all churches and Christian Leaders to take a moment in your services and gatherings to discuss the incredible humanitarian tragedy and faced by largely Syrian Refugees. 
Globally we must become a collective voice and partner to be the hands and feet of Jesus and create enough leverage to start to turn the tide on this urgent and significant issue.

Keep being







Tuesday, September 01, 2015


It's September 1st. A very portentous sort of day. The air is heavy with late summer, and school is looming.
My big kids are enjoying one last VBS this week, and while they were gone tonight, I realized I had some space. And I wanted to write. But, I was making pizza sauce, so it had to wait till now.
Everyone is in bed except Jolie Noel and me. She is sitting in the old wooden high chair learning how to eat puffs.
For the past few years, I have only blogged when my heart has been so burdened by an idea or topic or issue that I couldn't rest until I had blogged about it. But tonight, I just want to write down some things.
Life is going by quickly. Summer 2015 is winding down and it will not come again.
Joe and I both had an epiphany (a piphy-what?) at the beginning of the summer- mine was that this is the only summer 2015 we're gonna get, and his was that this is the only summer that our kids will be 14, 10, 8, 5, 3, and 0. Cade, for example will not be 8 next summer. This is the summer when he's 8 years old. I'm glad we realized this in June and not on September 1 or I would be feeling quite a bit more melancholy. We spent a lot of time outdoors, and the upstairs is a mess, but we all have tans and memories of more than putting laundry away for weeks on end. Summer 2015 was well spent with lots of VBS and FoodLink and family visits. Brilyn spent the summer learning horsemanship on my horse, Hannah, that I have had since I was 13. Yeah. Life is speeding up and coming around and it feels immense.

This school year is bringing some changes; Ana is coming home from public school for 7th grade, Bri and Cade are heading off to St Paul Lutheran, and Jessup is starting the big K at home. It looks like Arwyn will be going to Preschool twice a week. And I'm hopping back on to MOPS steering. That is a lot of change. No one will be doing what they did last year.
I feel so excited and hopeful about what the school year will bring. But of one thing I can be sure- everyone will change and grow and they will never be in 7th, 5th, 3rd, K, and preschool again. They will never lose those teeth or ask for whatever delights their hearts at Christmas this year again. This is it. This is their life. I say that to Ana all the time. This is your life. Be. Here. Now. How Ram Das of me. I hope I can keep this perspective throughout the school year and keep it slow like I did this summer. We are going to have to put the laundry away, but hopefully we'll also keep saying yes to the little things that make a life.

Granny's for ice cream even though it's late I'm a little sick and I have to judge a big goat show the next day. When will I be back for Granny's? I can't say.

Stopping at Camp Cherith after a long day of judging the Allegany County fair. So tired, but seriously, when will I be driving by there again with my 14 and 10 year old daughters with me to see where I worked the summer when I was 19 and I fell in love with their daddy and ran the horsemanship program? NEVER. 

The Hobbit book on tape for Brilyn and me. How can I be sure we'll ever have another chance at that? It's 10 CD's!

One more walk around at the surprise spiritual life retreat in the hills? When we will ever get back?

I am learning to take each little opportunity to live, because I am not guaranteed that I will have the chance again. Before my epiphany, I had a dull sense that it's not that big of a deal to miss out on those little things, there are lots of chances for ice cream and walks and books. But even if those chances do come again, it won't be this summer. Summer 2015 is flying off (headed south, I guess). I might get to go for ice cream in 2016, I might get to read more Tolkien with Brilyn, I might get back to Christ the King in Greenwich, but I might not. And if not, I have these moments I accepted with an open hand. I'm glad.

Jolie is now lying across my lap at the dining room table, just like I used to do across my parents' laps while they played cards at Aunt Connie and Uncle Joey's house. My mom and Uncle Joey are gone from this world. I'm glad my parents let me 'stay up' while they all played cards. Because they are in my memories. They could have put me to bed properly, but then where would my memories be?
I'm relaxing with my kids for this very reason. They sleep in my bed, interrupt my late night ice cream ritual, nudge their way under my arms when I'm praying, and come out and talk my ear off in the barn while I'm milking and I think what I'd really like is quiet.
But this is their life. If they don't sleep in my bed now, they won't ever. If they don't come down for late night talks, snuggle me when I'm trying to pray, and come out to the barn with me now, how can I be sure they ever will?
So, I've slowed down, broken some rules, and kind of chilled out. I still say "SHUT THE DOOR" about 1,000 times a day. The fly phobia is real, and so are maggots. But, when someone says, "can we...?" I am a lot more likely to say yes. Because this is it. This is my life; this is our life. We don't get another Summer 2015 or any other season. We could all have neater drawers and more sleep and eat less leftovers and pizza, (oh my goodness and don't even look at my kids' feet) but I don't think that would build our life the same as outdoor walks and talks, ice cream with Grampy, and 5 different VBS's.

I am satisfied with our summer. I can look into autumn with twinkling eyes (bring on the pumpkin cheesecake stuff and cider) without any vague unease at the changing of the season. Summer was well spent. We know each other better, we know Jesus better, and we shared Him around wherever we went. And I was smiling during some of it! And laughing and joking and not nearly so serious as I've been trying to be (thinking I had to else would I ever get through the laundry?)

I want to tell you about the surprise of Christ the King retreat center. Hopefully I'll blog again soon. And change my background to something NOT Christmas. :) XO

About Me

About Me
I love Jesus, my hubby, my 6 kiddos, my farm, good books and good food.