Saturday, December 21, 2013


Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they were saying:“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!”
Revelation 5:11-13   

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.          
Luke 2:6-7

Over the last three months, I have had the opportunity to dive into the book of Revelation in the Bible, and hear how it describes the majesty, authority, and "otherness" of Jesus. Some of the language is beautiful.  Some of it is frightening.  All of it is powerfully overwhelming.

Last week, God opened my eyes to the sheer ludicrousness of his plan: that the prince of heaven, who is worshipped and adored by countless angels and all creation (as in, literally, everything), would desire to put all that aside to come to live as one of us.  The juxtaposition of an almighty conquerer to a crying newborn in a barn is just silly.   Incomprehensible.  Humble.

And then I ran across these verses as I was doing devotions:

He has shown you, O man, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. -Micah 6:8

Though the Lord is great, he cares for the humble. -Psalm 138:6
But I will leave within you the meek and humble, who trust in the name of the Lord. -Zephaniah 3:12


I feel as though I am humbled almost daily in my job as a wife and mom.  I lose my patience with Noah. I am selfish with Dave. I let the hours pass without using them to the fullest with Zeke. I realize my inadequacies.  I get jealous, judgmental, complacent, comfortable. And when I look at what God expects of me, I am ashamed, and humbled.

And then, he lifts my chin, and shows me the never-ending, always pursuing love he has for me. And I am no longer ashamed.  

I am humbled.  And that is just where he desires I be.

But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over ideal, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times. 
Micah 5:2

Thursday, December 5, 2013


But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. John 1:12 

This Advent, my heart has been working through different strategies to keep the focus in our house on the main gift, Jesus. Noah understands the concept of getting a gift more this year than in past years, and he is very excited now about all things Christmas. One of the first things he mentioned to me this morning, as the sun was still creeping toward the horizon, was that in a few days it would be Christmas, and that meant that he could eat a candy cane! 

Christmas 2012

Regularly, Dave and I try to remind the boys to stay focused on the real reason for celebrating Christmas by asking the question, "Is Christmas all about.... (candy canes)?" Sometimes Noah answers yes, sometimes no. But we always come back to the question, telling him again and again that the answer is Jesus. 

The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. John 1:9-11

Sometimes, it's easy for us to reject Jesus, even Christians, even in the midst of this season. 

If I had no Christmas tree lighting up the dark evenings in my house, if there were no presents to give and to receive, if there were no stockings to hang, no special songs, no family gatherings, no cookies or candy canes or peppermint hot chocolate, no candlelit services, would I still celebrate the birth of The Lord of the universe, coming to earth to give his life as a ransom? I pray that I would.

I pray that I go about celebrating Christmas in the midst of all this abundance with a spirit that would lead my boys to know that the greatest gift that comes on Christmas is the right given to them to be children of God.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

My Story

Taking her by the hand he said to her, "Talitha cumin," which means, "Little girl, I say to you, arise." Mark 5:41

And [Jesus] said to him, "Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you." Mark 5:19

During the Thanksgiving worship service at my church this year, we were encouraged to think about "our story," the story of God at work in our life.  And we were challenged to share it.

Here's mine:

God has taken my proud and arrogant head and crushed it.  
He has shown me my weaknesses. 
He has brought to light my faults.
He has led me away from the path I prepared for myself…

Only to take me to His path, the one he had prepared for me from days of old.
He showed me my faults only to show me a way to mend them.
He brought forth my weaknesses so that I could understand the depths of his strength.
He crushed my head, so that He could have its place.

And for all of this, I am forever thankful.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


"Mommy!  Watch me!"

I wish I would be able to keep a running tally of how many times I hear this throughout the day.  If Noah is doing something that he is proud of, he proceeds to alert me with this catchphrase at least once every 30 seconds while he is going about trying out his new-found skill.

"Mommy!  Watch me!"

"Mommy!  Watch me!"

"Mommy!  Watch me!"

"Okay," I reply.

And then, as soon as he's completed his feat (trying to stand on his head, catapulting his stuffed toy monkey off of a book, sliding across the floor on his knees), I hear,

"Did you see that, Mommy?"

"Yes, Noah, I was watching you."

He wants to be watched if he's doing something really amazing or something totally mundane.  He wants to be watched first thing in the morning and last thing at night.  He wants to be watched at home, outside, at the park, at school.  It is so frequent, it has turned into one of those things where I have to remind myself to enjoy it, rather than be annoyed by it.  Even if I've seen him slide across the floor a dozen times, he still wants to know that I'm watching him for the thirteenth time.

[The Lord] will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore. Psalm 121:7-8

What an image: we don't have to ask God to watch us.  He does so out of his great power and mercy.  Perhaps as grown-ups, we would rather that God not watch our every move, because we know he would not be proud to see some of the things we do.  But he watches us, as a loving dad watches his kids, making sure to warn us when we attempt "feats" that might harm us, and rejoicing when we do things that imitate his heart.

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
Zephaniah 3:17

Monday, September 23, 2013

For Granted

A week ago, I successfully completed a half marathon, which is a fun yet challenging distance to run. It is a walk in the park to marathon runners, but seemingly unattainable to non-runners. It takes several months of planning and devoted training, and a little bit of insanity, to run for two hours straight. This particular year's race was special to me.  I have completed three half marathons before this one, but the last one took place in 2006, before my body added "childbirth" to its repertoire. After having two babies, I wasn't sure I would ever run in a competitive way again. God made it possible for me to have the time to train and gave me, once again, the physical ability to run. And it was so. much. fun.

All runners have a different attitude about running after finishing a race they've been training for. Some are signing up for the next one 10 minutes after they cross the finish line. Some swear they'll never put on running shoes again. (I've done both, by the way.) This week, I was excited to get back out and go for a 3-4 mile run.  And my first post-race run was wonderful: a beautifully crisp morning, plenty of energy, strong legs, clear thoughts.  As I was talking to God on my run (as I typically do, since he's my only "running buddy" these days), he was reminding me what a blessing it was to be able to run.  And my mind was flooded with all the individuals I know personally and from a distance who are not physically able to run. I was reminded of several times in my life when I've needed to take a break from running. I was reminded of those who do not have the privileges in life that allow for free time and free space to run.  And those thoughts make any aches or soreness seem completely arbitrary, complaints completely immature.

I think about this often in my duties of being a mom--the way in which I am privileged to even be one. I'm always surprised at how wrapped up I can get in the the little "aches and soreness" of motherhood. In days spent in parenthood, there always seem to be some sore joints, and muscles that tighten too quickly, and impatience to reach the next mile marker, and feelings of weariness.  But there are people out there whose hearts yearn for those pains.  They would gladly take on the pain if it would mean that they would be able to partake in the activity. I am blessed to have the pains I do.

My community grieves today for a boy who died in a fatal bicycle accident on the way to school this morning.  There is a mom tonight who wishes she had the simple aches of arguments and laundry to deal with.  But she is left with a much bigger ache.  May I never take for granted the gift that has been given me of each new day with my boys (and the aches that accompany it).

When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.
When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up, the flames will not consume you.
For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
Isaiah 43:2-3

Thursday, August 22, 2013


Four weeks ago, I put on my green apron for the last time.  I said good-bye to free lattes and the privilege of working on a shiny Mastrena.  For the last time, I handed a customer a cup of Pike with a smile.  Four weeks ago signaled the end.

For the past seven years, I've worked for Starbucks (minus a few four month breaks in there).  It was not a job that I sought after; it was a job that God gave me, knowing it would serve a good purpose in my life and in the life of my family. It was a job that provided for needs that Dave and I had.  It was a job that gave me hours when I needed work and breaks when I needed rest.  It was a job that challenged me to coach, lead, confront and encourage others.  It was a job that put me in touch with a LOT of people.

And now God has led me to leave that place (one of comfort, routine, dependability, security, ...caffeine) and trust him with a new adventure: that of staying at home with the boys.  In the months leading up to my last day, I was excited to be done, trusting God that it was the right decision.  In the weeks leading up to my last day, however, I was in a bit of emotional shock.  And the doubts began to creep in: Is this really the right thing to do?  Am I making a terrible mistake? Are we going to be able to survive on one paycheck? Will I regret this in six months? 

What a beautiful place to be. I was in complete trust of an all-powerful God.  I was humbly at his feet, hoping in his mercy and goodness. It was a little daunting, but mostly exciting, having faith that good would come because of obedience.

I was humbled to think of so many individuals who have gone before, who not only trusted God with their jobs, but with their homes, their travels, their families and their lives.

A month later, it's hard for me to imagine life any other way.  God has already provided for the areas that harbored my greatest hesitations.  The challenge for me now is to be seeking to follow Him daily, even when it's illogical or uncomfortable, knowing that there is great joy waiting for those who will end claim to their own life in order to begin with Him.

Thursday, August 15, 2013


And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.  
2 Corinthians 6:18

I am a fan of driving. But I really enjoy the conversations that happen when I am driving for an extended time with someone I love. Tonight, I got to drive and talk with my dad for a couple of hours. We talked about everything from "gibbous" to graduate school. The best part, though, was hearing him describe to me some of the interactions he had with various acquaintances of one of my brothers. He was relaying story after story of individuals who told him how much they appreciated and loved his son. And I got to see a glimpse: here was a 73-year-old man who loved "watching" his son. 

"You never get tired of watching your kids, do you, Dad?" I asked.
"No, I never get tired of watching my kids," he replied with the warmth that only a dad has. 

He went on to witness to me in the way he always does, "and isn't it wonderful to think that our Heavenly Father never gets tired of watching us, either?"

Yes it is, Dad. Yes it is.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Dave and I and the boys just got back from our family summer vacation last week.  A family summer vacation must have been one of those unspoken rules for Dave and me: we've never discussed the pros and cons of vacationing; we just always assume we will. And since we do not live near either of our families, our vacations are synonymous with family time.

Credit: David Lange

This year, our vacation was to a wonderful place called the Copper Spur Ranch, middle of Nowhere, Colorado.  No cell phone service.  No internet.  No traffic.  No neighbors (except for those awesome friends who live 3 miles down the road).  No pressures.  No worries.

That's not to say that there's no work.  All 24 of us that gathered had a daily chore (from the 3 year old to the 74 year old).  We made meals, washed dishes, swept floors, fed animals, built fires, got water, painted walls.

That's not to say that there's nothing to do. In fact, there was often more to do than hours in the day.  We rode horses, drove four-wheelers, hiked a mountain, went running, explored the abandoned copper mines, played on an oversized teeter-totter, pet kittens, fished (without any luck), boated, swam, played cards, ate and snacked and ate some more.

A week like that leaves me feeling so refreshed (even though Zeke did not sleep through the nights).

I love the simplicity of a life that revolves around spending time with loved ones and doing the work that needs to be done to meet one's basic needs.  The generosity and love of my family humbles and encourages me.  The joy of conversation and old jokes brightens my perspective on life.

Tonight, I wonder how weeks like this last one affect the little boys that God has put in my care.  No doubt, Noah, my lover of all things outdoors, was in heaven.  He wished that we could have stayed for a "long, long, long, long time."  The uninhibited time in nature, the entertainment of cousins, the responsibility of ranch chores: these are all poignant to the heart and soul that God has placed in his little 3 year old body.  For Zeke, as the baby on the ranch, he had the attention of grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins from sun up to sun down.  Perhaps Zeke learned that the network of love that surrounds him is bigger than he's ever known.  Perhaps Noah got a glimpse into the complexity and diversity of the world that God has created.

For me, every time I get to be at the Copper Spur Ranch, I am reminded how small I am and how BIG God is.  One look up at the night sky, and I'm brought back to the reality that the universe is a big, big place.  And all of my "big" issues seem to melt away in the face of the Maker who is brilliant enough to put such a universe into being.  His network of love is bigger than I'll ever know and His complexity and diversity is too great for me to grasp.

The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship.
Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known.
They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard.
Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world.
Psalm 19:1-4 NLT

Tuesday, April 30, 2013


I read this in my devotions this morning:

No one can redeem the life of another
or give to God a ransom for them--
so that they should live on forever
and not see decay.  (Psalm 49:7-8)

I was struck by the helplessness in this Psalm, and the candid talk about death. The writer goes on to say that both wise and fool alike, rich and poor the same, will one day make their graves their homes forever.  It is so harsh it caused me to pause.


I was speaking with a coworker this evening.  She continues to mourn the death of her dad, which was close to a year ago.  The desire to have him back is so strong that it still brings tears.  She and her mom are still learning how to go about life without "Mac" in it.


Death is a tricky thing.  I wish I could wrap my mind around it a little more.  I wish our culture wouldn't do so much to distort its reality.  I wish it would never take those I love.  I wish it would never cause pain in the lives of those I care about.


Within the last week, two of my good friends from my Bible study group had babies.  I was blessed to visit both newborns within a day of them taking their first breath.  What a precious thing new LIFE is!  It is so incredible to hold such a small little person in your arms, to study their amazingly tiny features, and to wonder at all the things they will experience in the days and years ahead.

How does death fit in?

I'm blessed to spend my days at home with two very healthy and very active little boys (and one very healthy and active grown man for my husband!).  We are constantly exploring the world together, learning new things and testing boundaries (in both good and bad ways).  The wonder of LIFE seems endless: so many places to go, things to do, images to see, sounds to hear.

How does death fit in?


Perhaps I struggle with understanding death because God never intended us to know it.  Perhaps it doesn't seem to fit into LIFE because it has never "belonged" there. Perhaps it causes such a hazard to daily life because it frays the fibers of community and family that God has so skillfully sown.


Coincidentally, this morning, Noah helped me make Resurrection Rolls.  If you have no idea what I'm talking about or have never made them, you need to make them tomorrow morning.  They are so easy and so awesome.  And so delicious!  You take a marshmallow (representing Jesus), roll it in melted butter, roll it in cinnamon sugar, then wrap it up in a crescent roll (representing the tomb).  After you bake it, you pinch open the crescent roll to find that the marshmallow is no longer inside!  The "magic" makes kids giddy, and it captures a bit of the joy and awe that the witnesses must have had that first Easter, when they discovered that the grave would not be Jesus' home forever.

photo credit:

Which brings me back to Psalm 49:

(verse 15)
But God will redeem me from the realm of the dead;
he will surely take me to himself.

I wish I could wrap my mind around this a little more.

God has erased the evil power of death.

I really don't have to worry about how death "fits in" because it's just a blip on the screen; it's a moment of transition from life to life.  It is part of our world.  It is part of the future history of every newborn child. But it is not the defining moment.  It is not the end.  It is just a part of the life that God gives us to live.

That is delicious.

Friday, March 29, 2013


Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace might also reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 5:20-21

My heart is heavy this evening.  One of my teen-aged girlfriends is feeling like God is absent in her life; she feels forgotten by God.  Among other things that are not going well right now, her relationship with her mom is rocky, because her mom is angry with her. 

My take-away: a mom has the power to make a child of the King forget their identity.

Driving home from work, with this news fresh on my heart, I was hit between the eyes with guilt.  How many times this last week have I been upset or angry with Noah?  How many times have we butted heads and how many times has my stern face and serious voice come out in full force? 

Yes, I know it is perfectly normal (and healthy) to be upset and angered.  Yes, I know it is right to discipline.  But how many times have I coupled those harsh and necessary actions with comfort and love, the very reason for those actions?

Not often enough, that's for sure.  Definitely not every time.  And yet, that is how God makes himself known to me.  EVERY time that I offend him, he gives me discipline and he gives me grace.  EVERY time.

Lord, this responsibility is too great for me.  I know that you have entrusted two young boys to my care, but I am incapable of showing them your love on my own. Be the love here.  Be gracious when I feel I cannot.  Be comfort when I don't know how.  Do a miracle in me, that the boys would see you, all of you, all the time, through me.  By your grace, let me never get in the way of them knowing you and your love for them.  When I mess up, show me.  When I fail, send someone who will succeed.  With every step, conversation, Yes and No, be my motivation and my guide.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Letting Go

I've officially begun my journey on what I'm sure is one of the hardest things about parenthood: letting go.

This afternoon, I picked Noah up from school, or pre-preschool, or whatever you would like to call it, and we headed straight for the park. With the beautiful weather, the extra hour of sunlight, and waiting on my husband to return to town from a meeting, it was the right formula for an hour of fresh air and running around.  As soon as we arrived, I noticed a change in our normal park routine.  Noah was not asking me to help him climb up the stairs, nor was he interested in racing down slides together.  He was confidently doing things on his own and interacting with the other kids who were there (and I am so thankful he can do these things).  I was beginning to wonder, however, if he even noticed I was still at the park with him.  So I sat down close to the play structure, made faces at Zeke who was in my lap, and waited for Noah to look my way.  And waited.  And waited.  I got a glance.  And then I waited some more.  (Finally, his nose was so runny that I initiated a conversation so I could clean him up!)  Sheesh, kid, don't you care that I'm here??

I understood his behavior at the park perfectly well.  He had just come from a classroom of kids where he was one of fifteen children led by only two or three adults.  He was in the mindset of doing things on his own and doing the "work" of playing with other kids.  But that did not lessen my desire for him to want to play with me, to be close to me.

Alas, the job of a parent.

I can only imagine what this looks like at 16. 

More than that, I can only imagine how our Heavenly Father feels when we go off and do our own thing without giving our time with him so much as a second thought.  We give him an occasional glance just to make sure he's still around, and then we keep on doing whatever we were wrapped up in doing before.  Our "playground" is enticing, and it is where he has placed us, but so often we see the playground as the purpose, when really the purpose all along is for us to spend time with Him.

I'm guilty of being the kid who's too wrapped up in what's going on to notice the reason for the occasion.  But still, God is always there.  He waits.  And waits. And waits.  And when I need cleaning up, he initiates and shows his love and care.  And then he waits some more.  

That is amazing love. That is what constantly draws me back into my Father's arms. That is what I want to show my boys.

After about 20 minutes at the park, Noah chose to play with me: swinging "as high as a bird" and hide-and-seek were on the menu today.  I can't speak for him, but it was joy for this parent's heart.

Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 1 Peter 2:16

Friday, February 15, 2013


As I stepped into the boys' room this evening to put Zeke in his crib, I was given the gift of a glimpse of the beautiful: the love between a daddy and his boy. There was Dave, sound asleep on the floor right next to Noah's little toddler bed, with his arm resting on the side of the bed. And there was Noah, fast asleep, with his daddy's fingers in his grip.

I'm praying tonight that I would fall asleep hanging on to the hand of my Father.

Sunday, January 27, 2013


Noah has entered full-bore into the wonderful world of pretend.  On Monday, for example: his friend, Ty, was playing Legos with him, Grandma Sharon and Grandpa Chuck were having dinner with us, and Mr. Steve (our friend who is a firefighter) climbed up his ladder to reach the kitchen counter so he could talk to me. The mind of a two-and-a-half-year-old is an interesting, curious and cooky place to be.

I wonder how he actually sees the world.  He can get pretty wrapped up in pretend.  Do his eyes "see" what he pretends? Does he cognitively switch back and forth between his worlds, or is it more of a fluid mix of the two?

The other day, we were driving in the car, and Noah said, "I love Santa."  In our house, we down-play the Santa card.  So I asked him, "Is Santa real or pretend?"  "Pretend," said Noah matter-of-factly.  I was so proud that we had such a smart little boy.  Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18.  A few seconds later, Noah continued, "And I love Jesus."  "Me, too, Noah," I replied. "Is Jesus real or pretend?" "Pretend," he said matter-of-factly. I made sure to correct him.

How can I best teach my boys about a real, living God who is also invisible? How can I distinguish the stories of the Bible from the stories of Curious George and songs of praise from nursery rhymes?  I know that this will be my quest for as long as the boys and I live. This is not one of those things that you learn once in Kindergarten and know for the rest of your life. I know of high school students who wonder if the Bible is indeed all true. Just a few years ago, I struggled to come to grips with whether God was "real or pretend." (A story I'd be happy to share.)

The best witness I have seen for my God is his work, his miracles, his answers to prayers. Our words have power:  when we open and share our real experiences (good and bad and definitely not perfect) and the real way that God has been active in our lives, those around us, especially our kids, will be able to "see" that he is REAL.

Since my youth, God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.    Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come. Psalm 71:17-18