Where do you turn when life gets hard?

IMG_074368 degree days in October are rare in Michigan, so when the forecast matched the weather on Saturday, I decided to take my adorable 7 and 4 year old boys on a walk, maybe rake some leaves, toss a few balls around and breathe in the fresh air.

After breakfast dishes were washed, I asked my mom, who was visiting from Wisconsin, if she would dry them while I went to see if my Hot and Hunky husband wanted to come along.  I found him still asleep on the couch, with the little boys sitting nearby watching TV. I admired him from the archway, debating whether to wake him or let him sleep.

My family was getting used to our new normal.  My father-in-law, who had been living with us on and off for a of couple years, had died 3 weeks earlier and while it was a relief in many ways, Hot and Hunky was grieving the loss deeply.

I moved closer and whispered his name. It was then I noticed how pale he was. I put my hand on his forehead to check his temp.

He was ice cold.

Read More

What do you do when your past tries to hijack your future?

I came face to face with my past this morning.

In an effort to purge items in my closet that didn’t fit my style anymore, or to be perfectly honest, didn’t fit my mature, more generously padded frame anymore, I stumbled across two of my dead husband’s favorite shirts.

It stopped me in my tracks.

IMG_0663

Read More

Remembering the First Day of School

Now an empty nester, I watch the school bus drive by my house filled with other mother’s children. While I do like my french fry & debris free car, a refrigerator from which food does not mysteriously disappear, and the peace and quiet that comes with this season, I’m reminiscing about the first day I took my oldest to school. This 20 year old bittersweet memory seems like yesterday. Maybe you can relate?

The wind blew hard today; it was a sign of the times.
A change of season in the weather and in our lives.

schoolbus sign

Read More

Lost and Found … my keys and my temper

keysToday I’m VEXED because I’ve lost my keys.  

Also, my new barrettes (still in the package),
two socks (not a pair),
and my temper!

It wasn’t a world class Rumpelstiltskin snit;
it was a slow-burning internal squawk.

Do you do that?
Pretend it’s all good, but sizzle inside.

I do – more than I care to admit.

Here’s the issue …today.

I don’t lose things.  
I just don’t. 
I’m organized. 
I’m tidy. 
I put stuff away.

You could say I’m borderline arrogant about my organized tidiness.
There is a place for everything and everything should be in its place!
But today I cannot find my things.  

Where. Are. My KEYS!!!!!
Ugh.

Read More

Burning Coals and Great Rewards

Do you have anyone in your life that’s a handful?
You know, really irritating?
Downright challenging?
Yeah, me, too.

One of my fathers-in-law was a cop.  He bragged about riding motorcycles year-round in the ‘60s. “Heck, yes, (except he didn’t say heck) it was cold. We’d wrap our legs with newspaper as insulation under our uniforms. The department wasn’t full of wimps, women and weaklings like it is now.” 

A real charmer, that one. 

At least when I had to be around him, his sweet wife kept the peace by buffering his insults and verbal assaults with graceful scoldings and smiles.

Then . . . his wife died. 

Suddenly, I became the primary caregiver for that cantankerous man! 

Read More

Bathtubs and Bibles

Are you a bathtub or shower girl?  

Do you like standing under pelting water in a shower or sitting in a mini sea of calm waters in the tub?

BathtubJust from my descriptions you can probably tell I’m a bathtub girl. I take showers if I have no other option, but my preference is always a bath. Even when I’m in a hurry, I can take a “skinny” bath and get the desired result—cleanliness—which is an imperative for every day. But I much prefer a deep, hot, relaxing soak. When I get out of the tub, I’m not just clean, I’m refreshed, ready for action . . . or for bed. 

A bath sets me up for what’s next: a full day of work or a good night’s sleep. I’m ready.

Sometimes I read in the tub.  

You can’t do that in the shower! 

Read More

From Wreckage to Redemption

September 10th is a big day at my house. It’s our redemption day.

It’s the day my Adventure Boy husband’s plane was located after weeks of searching for it.  Our hope was that both Adventure Boy and the plane would be recovered safely and intact, but that isn’t what we found.   A pilot error, a thunderstorm, and a dark mountain created a trifecta of disaster.  Adventure Boy was found inside the crumpled wreckage.

crash site

He’d been killed on impact.
Read More

Here comes the groom.

You know what’s crazy? Well, maybe not crazy, but disconcerting?  Watching your son grow into your husband’s looks, moves and dreams!

I watched Eli walk down the aisle wearing a black tux and a big smile. He married the girl of his dreams and they ate and danced and schmoozed the night away.

_DSC2036

And I couldn’t help but see how he is his father’s progeny.  His smile, his hands, his dance moves and his laugh were all very reminiscent of his father.

I only wished my Hot & Hunky husband had lived to see it with me.

Ours was a love story resembling a fairy tale.I was young and beautiful and Hot & Hunky was fearless and handsome. We met in college and it was love at first sight … for him.

He just wasn’t my type.  Hot & Hunky was a Christian and while I didn’t know any Christians, from what I had heard in general and seen on 60 Minutes, I didn’t think they could not have any fun.  Hot & Hunky didn’t seem to fit that stereotype. While he did have preposterously high standards: he didn’t drink or smoke or use drugs or sleep around, he
didn’t judge me for doing all those things.  He went to movies, and came dancing.  He told (clean) jokes and was easy to be around.  I liked him a lot.  Like a prince, he continuously rescued me: he picked me up when I got stranded, he took me to ER when a date went awry, he loved, encouraged, and cherished me.  He treated me with respect and adoration.

After our freshman year of college I took a summer job as a Playboy Bunny,

Read More

Missing on the Mountain

Fifteen years ago today, my husband Craig piloted our little airplane on a routine flight from Grand Rapids, MI to Lebanon, PA. He was supposed to pick up the pastor friend he’d dropped off the week prior. 

Craig never arrived at his destination.

airplane image (1)

 

A search ensued that lasted for weeks. 

Life was turned upside down and inside out.  

It was harrowing.

It was all-consuming. 

Not just for me, it imprisoned my children, my extended family, and all my friends.  

Life as we knew it just stopped.

In that time of suspended anticipation, our faith was tested and our prayer lives exploded.

Everyone wants to see a miracle. 

No one wants to need one.  

I needed one.

Did I get it?  

Read More

Mary or Martha. . . Becoming My Own Object Lesson!

My son’s room was a disaster area.

Stacks of magazines, motorcycle paraphernalia, and

a week’s worth of socks and underwear covered the floor.

He had one little bitty space on his huge desk that

wasn’t covered with paper or doodads or books.

The bed was disheveled and the window blinds were all catawampus.

How could a kid whose brain organized data to get straight As live in this chaos?

When he invited me in to talk, I hesitated at the doorway.

He was wearing a sad face and a T-shirt that read:

Read More