Wednesday, September 24, 2014


Today joy looks like rain falling from a grey sky.  All night long, as I tossed and turned, I could hear the rain gently falling on the roof, so calming and welcome after such a dry summer.  I rolled over and just listened, wide awake at 4:30 am for the third day in a row, willing myself to fall back asleep, knowing how much harder this makes the evenings. But my mind would not give in to the desires of my heart and flesh and I reluctantly got up and started the coffee. 

Joy looks like coffee every day.  And when the coffee runs out, it looks a lot like the pot of Earl Grey brewing on my counter.  I'm not sure why I can't sleep.  Its not because I'm not tired, because I am.  But I feel alive in a way that needs the day to begin.  Much like the rain is waking up our parched and dormant grass that has only needed mowing twice all summer, my mind is rousing.  I've been in a dry season all summer.  A season of exhaustion and excitement and entertainment galore that has unknowingly depleted me and left me thirsty. 

I didn't even realize how thirsty I was until I started reading this book by Micha Boyett called Found.  Ann Voskamp(my hero) recommended this book on her blog and without even thinking about it, without checking the budget, reading the reviews or even really looking at the subject, I bought it.  I just knew I had to have it.  It arrived last week shortly after J's birthday and I haven't been able to put it down.  I told Hubs last night that I can't wait to finish reading this book so I can start reading it again.  And he, of course, asked why it was so great?  To which I replied with silence and then, "it just is." 

I wasn't done with his question, just not able to put into words the quenching power of Micha's words for my soul.  Because I've been bone-dry for months, just trying to make it through the days but not really seeing.  Oh every now and again I remember to write down my gifts and really stop to SEE, but for the most part, I've just been along for the ride.  But when I started reading this book, I started reflecting a little more, started thinking a little deeper and questioning myself.  I've started to understand prayer and quiet time and how sacred each moment can be if only I allow it.  And I'm falling in love with life a little more this week.  I'm SEEing and hearing and feeling and it is all so vulnerable and beautiful and empowering.  Which is all still so vague and I'm sorry for that.  I'm going to read with a highlighter this second time through. 

My tea cup is empty and I can smell the tomato vines on my fingers as I hold it close to my lips, thinking.  Today joy looks like harvesting tomatoes in the rain and warm cookies from the oven.  The world seems new to me; there is a sheen I haven't noticed in a long time and I'm ready to drink it all in. 

Friday, September 19, 2014


Some days surviving is easier than others.  It just is.  The routine is there.  I get up way too early.  Make the coffee.  Praise God for the coffee.  And everything else, too, of course.  Try to read the Bible before reading the email.  Try to get clothes on and teeth brushed before school drop off.  Play with Littles all day.  Really try to get dressed before school pick up.  Feed kids snacks and help with homework.  Cook dinner.  Thank God that yoga pants work as both pajamas and clothes so Hubs doesn't even realize I'm still not dressed yet when he gets home from work.  Put kids to bed, pretend for five seconds that I really am going to do those dishes tonight, transfer the laundry to the dryer and go to bed.  Wash.  Rinse.  Repeat. 

But then there are days, sometimes weeks, that surviving is hard work. Everything is just harder. Everything.  Breathing.  Smiling.  Remembering to put the snack in Little Man's backpack.  Remembering to eat.  Not crying.  Not imploding or withdrawing from the world completely.

It seems like it should be getting easier.  It's been almost four years now.  And I've said before that learning how to work around the gaping hole in my heart, the coping part, how that is getting easier.  But not always.  Not this week.

This week Little Lady jumped out of her stroller on the way to pick up to point out the two Jays that flew down on the branch right next to us.  And I had to sit down in the middle of the road because I couldn't stop sobbing.  That was on J's birthday.  And I cried the whole three block walk to the school, cried on the playground while other moms tried really hard to not notice.  Cried though the cake making and the dinner cooking.  Instead of singing Happy Birthday, Hubs and I cried through a cheers for Jameson and then, because we all just needed a freaking break from the tears, we watched Goonies.  It's been a big movie week.

It's five days later and I'm on my way to MOPS.  This is a new group and the first day.  Little Lady and I left early because it's outside our five-mile bubble and I am anxious.  We arrive early.  Like 20 minutes early.  I want to sit in the car and text.  Little Lady wants to go to church school.  We compromise and walk around the block.  Three houses from the entrance to the church, there's this house with a great front yard garden full of dinosaurs.  Dinosaurs everywhere.  And all I can think is how meant to be this all is.  How I'm supposed to be here this early and walk past this house and think about my boy.  And I'm trying so hard not to cry on this already impossibly hard week just made harder. I'm trying so hard not to walk into this church for the first time with a swollen face and say hi, nice to meet you, I'm the crazy crying lady.  God help me not be that crazy lady, at least not today.

I only cried a little and I hope nobody noticed. 

But the dam broke on the way home and I almost had to pull the car over and its been almost four years and I'm still needing to pull over on the sides of roads for the ugly crying.  And I don't know what I'm doing.  It NEVER feels easy, these days where I'm still here and Jameson is not. And all these people keep telling me how strong I am, how they don't know how I do it, like its the thing to be proud of or something.

I read the book Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand a little over a year ago and I remember wondering why he just didn't give up?  Why did he bother to keep living through the hell he was in?  But the thing is, you can't help it.  This whole living thing is worth the fight, even when it's hell.  And it feels all wrong to call it hell because how can I?  My life is beautiful.  But it is so heavy too.  And its exhausting to have it be both like this every day. 

I don't think it's ever gonna get easier.  Sometimes I think it is getting harder.  It's been so long since he was here.  So long since I've held my boy and kissed his forehead.  It's been more than four years since he's danced or laughed or cried my name.  And I still long to scoop him up and make it all better.  But he's gone and I can't make anything better.  I can't fix him or my broken heart. 

Monday, September 15, 2014


Happy Birthday Jameson

Your brother and sister picked out the biggest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles balloons in the store and I bet you'd think they were pretty cool.  We are making you a s'mores cake, remembering just how much you loved chocolate and marshmallows.  I'm sure you are having a lovely time in Heaven.  Are birthdays as exciting as coming home days?  

There is so much I wish I could ask you. So many things about you I wish I could know.  If you were still here you would be seven now.  And going into second grade.  I imagine you would be learning to ride your bike and read and write.  You'd have so many friends because everyone has always loved you and that could never change.  I imagine you hair would still be red and you'd still have the best laugh and still be an amazing dancer.  

I miss you so much, my sweet Jameson.  We all miss you every day.  Do you look down and see us as we look at your pictures?  Do you watch your little sister kiss the brother she doesn't know?  Do you see your big brother climb to the top bunk, wishing with everything inside him that you were still just a few steps away?  Do you see me still sleep with your blankey once in a while, wishing you were still wrapped up in my arms?  Do you see us happy when we remember you?  You were such a bright light.  You will always be my boy, Jameson, my sweet baby J. 

I used to hope that when you grew up, you'd never want to leave home.  That you would move into an apartment above the garage and be hot tub buddies with your Dad.  That you would eat dinner with us and travel with us and we'd be the luckiest people in the whole world to never have to have an empty nest.  But it didn't work out that way, my boy.  You left us much too soon.

Today, on your seventh birthday, I want to tell you what I hope for now.  I hope for a long and happy life here.  The kind of life that makes you proud when you see your bright light shining on inside of me.  A life lived so full of passion, zest, grace, love, and joy that it can count for both of us.  I dream about the day when it's my turn to leave here.  What it will be like to see you and see HIM and be whole and full and to finally understand.  I can't wait to meet you in Heaven, my boy.  But I know that I must, and that's okay too.  

I'm sure you will have an amazing cake up there.  Who is the pastry chef anyway?  So many things I wish I could know.  Someday I look forward to getting the grand tour from you.  

But until then, I'm sending up all my love, my sweet boy, all my love and hugs and kisses.  

Happy Birthday, Jameson. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Hard Months

We are into the four months of hard.  We have had family in town and it started over a holiday weekend and then school started up and work started back up and family went home and we've been working on project after project on the house.  But the dates don't go unnoticed.  The heart remembers.  The scars crack and rub raw when the last day of August rolls around. 

We were at the coast.  It was cold.  And even though nothing but my toes went into the water, I was drowning all day long.  We had this amazingly beautiful day at my favorite location with my favorite people in the world and I was smiling and laughing and having so much fun.  Except that my heart was breaking wide open. 

But He spent the whole day wooing me.  Reminding me of the promises that are for now and those that are for later. 

Four years ago my whole world began to shatter and crumble around me.  It left nothing untouched.  It took a third of a year and my whole life 

But the sun came up the next morning.  And the morning after that.  And it keeps rising and setting and the world keeps on turning and I'm spinning from all this back and forth, this never ending fight to stay present without losing the past.  Some days all I want to do is fall into the memories without ever coming up for air.  But I like to breathe.  I can't help it. 

Which is how I came to be at the coast, breathing in the salty air on the anniversary of my world falling to pieces and wondering how in the world my heart could be growing and bursting with love and happiness and shattering at the same time. 

This life is good.  My God, it is a damn beautiful life. 

But in one week, I'm going to be making a cake for a little boy who should be turning seven.  And I don't even know what kind of cake he would like anymore.  Because four years and two days ago he was diagnosed with a terminal disease. 

And it would be so easy to fall into the abyss right about now.  Except, it's not.  Because I close my eyes and I can see the pictures of my life all around.  There's this gorgeous red-head who never changes and never grows older and he's everywhere, plastered all over the walls of my home and heart.  But right along with him are more pictures.  There's this man-child who is turning more and more into his daddy every day and this girl with these blonde curls who has stolen my heart with her wild passion for this world and life.  And there's a tall drink of water who makes me thirsty just thinking about him, too.  And there are sunsets and mountain vistas and oceans.  Family and friends.   There is love and laughter and happiness and beauty.  So much beauty.

"Life is hard but so very beautiful" -Abraham Lincoln