Thursday, May 31, 2012

Jethro's Story

There's a problem with his heart
He may not survive 'til birth
The heart is enlarging
There's no room for his lungs
The defect is severe
Frightened, alone, terrified of loss
Driven to my knees
Pray and pray
His story is his own
Finally, peace
Birth, sedation, intubation
Decisions, turmoil
Counsel, hope, the return of peace
Surgery, prayers
Nurses, doctors, excellent care
Recovery, therapy, growth
Doctor's visits, feeding tubes
Long hard days
Triumph at last
Joyful life

Thursday, March 29, 2012

My Journey

I was compliant
When I was young
And stupid
And didn't know any better
When I thought doctors must know
Before I found out they're just human too
And then I began to learn
I discovered herbs
And alternatives
Not everything was as it seemed
I became educated
I found out I had choices
I started asking questions
And more questions
Until I understood 
I began to make decisions
I became an advocate
For me
For Jethro
For all my family
And I wasn't compliant

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Run, Run, Ezra

Bright orange shirt, and impish grin
Run, run, run
Shorts on bottom, today he's not a nudist*
Run, run, run
Lightning McQueen, Tow Mater
Run, run, run
Short blonde hair, denim blue eyes
Run, run, run
Lots of questions, I have no idea
Run, run, run
Constantly eating, where is the cereal
Run, run, run
MMA fighting, are you going to tap out
Run, run, run
Spiderman and Levi, those are my heroes
Run, run, run
Love playing football, I am contrary
Run, run, run

*Ezra is not really a nudist. But he does love to run around (in the house) in just his unmentionables...he's 3, so we let him. =)

Monday, March 26, 2012

A Slow Goodbye

We are six days into Spring, and the snow is gently falling. 
Yesterday, the weather was truly spring-like, reaching into the low 60's.

The children, thrilled to be out of the house 
and not bogged down in mud, 
spent the day playing in the sunshine; 
in shirt sleeves and shorts, despite my
prostestations that wasn't *that* warm out.

Daddy and Logan took advantage of the beautiful day and 
spent it re-decking the porch
and giving it new stairs. 
Both of which were desperately needed.

Later today, after the snow quit falling 
and there was a lull in the rain,
they returned to the porch, 
making it a bit safer for the little set,
adding rustic posts and top rails made of branches 
blown off our trees this past winter.
Apple branches will likely be the lower rails, but until we can
get them brought home, 
1x2's make for temporary railing.

I love these early Spring days, 
bringing the urgency of outdoor projects 
and new life.
Raking the yard, beginning to prepare the garden area,
fixing broken windows in the greenhouse.
Checking on the berry bushes and herbs
planted last year
seeing leaves beginning to bud 
and plants starting to green.
And yet amidst that, there are still remnants of Winter.
Cold winds, rain, snow.
Weather perfect for settling in next to the fire
with a hot cup of tea and my Bible ~
or a small child
or three
and a pile of picture books.

While each season holds its own fascination,
tugging at my heart for reasons
no other season has,
Winter is truly my favorite.
I love the quietness brought by snow,
the warmth imbued to a cold winter night by lights 
shining through windows.
I love the romance and coziness of candlelight and fire,
I love flannel and woolens
and all things snuggle worthy.

And so, while everyone else runs out the door 
and embraces the first flush of Spring,
I move slowly toward it,
savoring the dying embers of Winter's life.
Soon enough, Spring will be here in full force ~
no turning back.
And then, for her moment,
she will be my favorite.
Until then, I will cherish these last moments 
with my dear Winter.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Unspeakable Joy
Anxious anticipation
Exhausting, rewarding work
Bringing forth new life through a wall of pain
The sweat of my brow
The fruit of my love
The song in my heart
Digging deep
Pushing through fire
Sweet relief
A newborn's cry

Tobias James

Monday, March 5, 2012

Legacy...For better or worse

Someone who impacted my life in a tremendous way died this week. Monday morning, my biological father passed from this life into eternity. He was in his eighties and had not been in good health for several years, but this last year he had been in especially poor health...going back and forth between the nursing home and hospital.

I had gotten a call from my step brother a month or so ago saying that the end was closer, and it probably wouldn't be long. So, the call that came Monday afternoon was no surprise. I was in fact, thankful. I had been praying for mercy for him, and I believe that is what God showed Monday morning. He went quickly and now his suffering is over.

I was not close with my father. He left when I was quite small. He was an alcoholic and abusive and when I was probably 3 or 4 he and my Mom were divorced. I have memories from around the time I was 2 or 3, and they are not good memories. For many, many years I hated him. The few memories I had were horrible, and then to build on that he would promise to come see us and then never show up. I can remember him calling and wanting to talk to me, and me refusing.

The first opportunity I had to really exercise forgiveness as a young Christian was my father. About the time I got into Jr. High, I began to realize that while we are all sinners, we are not our sin. Our sin does not, or rather, should not define us. And, I was able to begin to see my father in a new light. I knew that I needed to forgive him and move forward. For years, I had gone by my Dad's (step-dad...but he's my Dad) name, and had desperately wanted him to adopt me, but that had never come to fruition. Finally along about 7th grade, I began to use my legal maiden name. My Dad was hurt, I know, but for me it was an Ebenezer of sorts...signifying what God was doing in my heart and of me coming to a point of forgiveness toward my father.

My father and step-mom lived in Alaska for most of my growing up years...and into my adulthood, so I never saw much of them. My step-mom would write, sending birthday and Christmas cards, and the occasional letter. I began to write to them as well, trying in some way to include them in my life. If it had not been for my step-mom's efforts, I don't think any of us kids would have ever had contact with my father.

When Mike and I got married, my Dad walked me down the aisle. I never even considered contacting my father to see if he would be interested, because he was not a real part of my life. As grandbabies began to arrive, I would send announcements and pictures, but sometimes not until Christmas.

Several years ago, they moved down from Alaska to Washington, within a couple or three hours from us. My father's health was beginning to deteriorate, and it was getting difficult for my step-mom to care for him on her own. They moved to where they could be close to her kids and she would have help. We made it up to their place once with all the kids to visit. When we would get a call that one or the other was in the hospital, I always made an effort to go and see them. In the last few years, I really went more for my step-mom. My father was getting very difficult to understand, and, he had never really been much for talking...not to me anyway. My step-mom had devoted her life to him. What a precious example of 'for better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness or in health'. When he was in the hospital, or the nursing home, she would have her son bring her to be by his side each morning, staying all day, until he came in the evening to bring her home.

As I have received condolences this week, I have thought a lot about the impact we have on our children and the legacy we leave. I did love him. I tried to honor him, although I know that I often failed. With his passing, I have not shed a tear. I feel no sorrow. He was, at best, on the periphery of my life. His choice, not necessarily mine, although somewhat by default, it was mine as well. I mourned the absence of his presence a long time ago, and so there is really nothing to mourn now. It was more like losing a distant relative that I had seen now and then but had no relationship with, rather than losing a parent. I have a Dad, and he is still alive and well.

My father had been sober for many, many years. He had wonderful relationships with his wife's family. So, he had kids and grandkids and great-grandkids that all were a part of his life and who thought the world of him. I am glad. There are 4 pretty terrific families that he missed out on, because he walked away from them a long time ago, and that is sad, but we have all come to various points of peace over it and it is what it is.

God has used my brother's childhoods to shape us into the people we are. He gave us a great Dad, and I am so very thankful for that. He took four children who lived through a lot of hurt and drew each of them to Himself and we are each serving the Lord in various ways, and raising our children to love the Lord.

My cousin wrote a note telling about the good memories she has of my father, wishing my kids could have known the man he once was. I appreciated that. I wish they could have known him too, especially who he once was. 
This is somewhat disjointed. I apologize. But...I wanted to acknowledge his passing. He is part of the reason I am who I am today. He's the reason that promises are so important to me...don't make a promise you can't keep. He's the reason I was never tempted to be a partier when I was a teen. He's the first 'lesson' God gave me in extending grace and forgiveness. He's part of the reason I'm here. Period. I am thankful that he was my father, even if he never was a Daddy to me. I am thankful that he accepted the Lord several years ago. I am thankful that he is no longer suffering. And I am thankful that when I think of him, I think of a man. A man who struggled and sinned and had faults, but a man. I don't think of him and think of his sin. We are not our sin...we are not our struggles...
And I am so very thankful that I have a Heavenly Father who has loved me in spite of my sins and struggles and shown me that truth.

Someday, I will see my father again, and I am thankful for that, too.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Jethro is 2!

We once again have a two year old in the house.
Sunday was Jethro's birthday.
This year was low-key. No large celebrations.
But, all the kids were here, plus a couple extra (girlfriends),
and we had a good afternoon of eating and visiting 
and cake and presents.
Although Jethro was not that interested in opening presents.
He was happy to play with his toy after it was open,
but if it hadn't been for helpful siblings, his presents would
still be wrapped.

He loves Lightning McQueen, so of course he had to have a cars cake.

Here's the birthday boy, rockin' his new Under Armour shirt.

Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you!

He didn't get the whole, blowing out the candles idea. He just wanted to grab them. Daddy blew them out for him. =)

Playing with his new wheelies construction ramp...I think all the littles loved it.

Birthday parties are EXHAUSTING! =)
We are so thankful for 2 years with Jethro!
God has sustained him and caused him to flourish. 
He is doing so well right now, and if it weren't for his
scars, and the amount of sleep he needs, 
you wouldn't know that this baby was