A sweet friend took me out on the town last night. We dined at the only fancy-ish restaurant in our small city, swooning over Greek Bruschetta and perfectly roasted artichokes before scurrying to the theater to support friends in a local production of Rent.
Another friend met us at the show where our three mouths hung agape over the showcase of local talent. (“Wow, that girl can WAIL! Where do these people COME from? Do they LIVE here?”) After the performance, we chatted in the street beside my friend’s ginormous SUV, wishing there was somewhere we could grab coffee.
“There’s always McDonald’s,” someone offered timidly, more like a question than a suggestion. . .
We rolled into Mickey-D’s at 10:15, settling in between the giggling high school crowd in the back and the cat-vibes lady with the pink sequined scarf up front.
Four hours later, we were still in the booth. Our conversation had rambled through the territories of foster care, intercessory prayer, seasonal depression, religion-based shame, Kindergarten crushes, self-love, gluten farts, and the most absorbent mom-bladder pantyliner. Continue reading →
Yesterday, I ran into a friend I haven’t seen in a while, and she asked me where I’ve been. I tried replying, but I’m not sure I even knew the answer.
If this post had a subtitle, maybe it would read “That Time I Tried Working Two Part-Time Jobs While Homeschooling My Children, Supporting My Husband Through a Career Change, Becoming Foster-to-Adopt Licensed, and Why Not Throw in a Trip to Disney World Followed Closely by Influenza, a Stomach Virus, and Two Minor Household Floods.” Continue reading →
We’ve heard from one woman who battled cancer and one who said a premature goodbye to her father. A young man whose life course changed within a second, and another who watched his child struggle for years. A mother whose child received a terrifying diagnosis, andanother who had to bury two of her precious babies.
Life unleashes some brutally painful attacks doesn’t it? Most of the time, we never see them coming. There’s no way to prepare. We are subject to our circumstances.
Sometimes, though, the attacks are sneakier. They come from within. The wars we wage are against our own selves. We’re on both sides of the battlefield — and only one side can be victorious.
For my friend Austin Lucas, the attack was a slow advancement –a letting down of his guard. A befriending of the enemy. Before he knew it, he found himself in a full-on raging battle.
It wasn’t until Austin surrendered that he regained his position of strength and fortitude — that he was able to strike back against the forces that had divided himself against himself.
Austin’s story is a compelling reminder that we never have to fight our battles on our own.
We’re never forsaken. We’re never alone. And we’re never too far gone.
As Father’s Day approaches, we’re reminded of all the things a dad should be…
The protector, the provider, the fixer, the giver-of-knowledge.
Lance Ellis willingly embraced all of these roles. He couldn’t wait to teach his kids, help them solve problems, and bring them along on adventures.
He had plans. Plans to be a teacher. Plans to marry his sweetheart, Jill Johnson — to make a home and have two children, maybe even a dog.
But life had different plans for Lance, and he wasn’t able to do those things exactly the way he wanted to. Only when he surrendered his own plans — when he became willing to be shaped by his circumstances, did he arrive at the realization that plans and efforts are not guarantees, and the only thing a father can really provide for his children is unconditional love.
When Jaclynn Kreider was a young girl, her father, Jack Kriegl, was her hero. They enjoyed many of the same things – playing sports, Green Bay Packers football, skiing, hunting, trapping, and spending time outdoors.
Mai Thi Yen Trang was born in Vietnam in January, 1988. Her father, Choi, a gold miner, died in a cave-in, leaving her mother, Nguyen Thi My Kiem to care for Trang (6) and her three siblings: Nuong (8), Meeyoom (3), and Dung (in utero). Continue reading →
Have you ever had a secret? One that you had to keep from everyone? One that was surely worse than everyone else’s secrets?
I carried the weight of a secret, and it wore me down. It kept me turning in bed when I desperately needed sleep. It masked the bright flavors of my favorite foods. It dulled the colors of my world. Continue reading →
In November, I shared the Sternhagen family’s journey through a sad and bewildering time as their infant son Blake was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a condition that could dramatically shorten a child’s life (full story here). Continue reading →