To Gray on Your Ninth Birthday

The boy who made me a mama is nine today. I’ve written many letters to my kids over the years. I think I’ll share a few here. . .


Dear Gray,

You have been a big kid with a big personality since the moment we met you. When Dr. Ryan delivered you, he shouted to the operating room, “Somebody get this kid a cheeseburger!” When he put you on the scale and you weighed over twelve pounds, Mom thought she was hallucinating! Dr. Ryan must be some kind of a prophet, because you really do LOVE cheeseburgers, don’t you?

Mom and Dad have enjoyed watching you grow into the terrific guy you were created to be. We admire many things about you, but here are some of our favorites: Continue reading

Broken Places

This is the view from my recovery recliner – my view for the past month.

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NKOTB blanket circa 1987

It’s the best time of year here in Michigan and I thought for sure I would miss it.

I would miss my walks beneath the wooded canopy of Fumee Lake, calico leaves swooshing underfoot.

I would miss the apple orchard and the pumpkin patch, cornstalks rustling as kids dart in and out of rows.

I would miss cinnamon and nutmeg, spicy Chai, the flavors and smells of my autumn kitchen.

I’d miss it all because I’d be stuck in this stupid chair with these stupid crutches and this stupid aching hip.

Somehow, that’s not how it went at all. Somehow, I didn’t miss it.

Continue reading

A Swell Day

Dear Friends,

I was draggin’ my wagon after last week’s hip surgery, but I think I may have turned the corner this morning.

I’ve already. . .

Cleaned my eyeglasses.

Color-code highlighted my appointment calendar.

Soaked my feet in Epsom salts.

Swatted four houseflies from my recliner.

Took my blood pressure three times.

Cleaned and oiled the foam pads of my crutches.

Clipped coupons from the grocery store flier. You wouldn’t believe the prices they’re offering on Ensure and Metamucil! (I wonder if they deliver…)  Continue reading

The Cusp

The bald eagle circles the river basin and returns to her nest at the top of the pine. The hungry eaglets chatter to her. Their squawks and squeals echo across the water.

Daylight is growing longer. My dog trots along beside me, sniffing the deer trails, lunging at the disappearing flash of rabbit tail. He’s just a year old, springy and deft – and today he is more attuned than usual, picking up on the new action and songs of the wild.

Back at home, the first green shoots of tulips are showing themselves along the path between my house and garage. They’ll be dusted in snow another time or two before stubborn winter gives way and spring bursts into full glory — but that’s not stopping us from dragging dusty lawn chairs from storage and setting them up in that patch of sun in the driveway where we’ll page through seed catalogs and dream about kneeling in a jungly July garden. Continue reading

Where I’ve Been

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

On What’s Real

As I pushed my three-year-old son’s dresser drawer to a close, the framed army photograph of my grandfather tipped over and landed face-down with a thump.

I propped it back up, blew a piece of dust from the glass, and said, “Sorry, Papa.”

Miles looked for a few long seconds at the 1940s photo — the perfect wave of my grandfather’s hair, his tan army-issue shirt, the eyes that were even bluer in real life than in that colorized photograph.

“Is he still real?” Miles asked.

Continue reading

Bad Dreams, Bean Bags, and How We (Like-It-or-Not) Became a Co-Sleeping Family

My five-year-old son is going through a tough phase of intense fears, especially at nighttime. For the past two months, he has been coming into our bedroom at least three times a night, sometimes as many as ten, saying he had a nightmare. Most of the time, we don’t think he has even been to sleep yet, so by “nightmare” he means scary thoughts.

The phase has been hard on all of us. Anyone who has had a newborn baby who doesn’t sleep through the night can relate to the difficulty of functioning in a sleep-deprived state. My husband is transitioning into a new career, so he has had a lot of studying to do while still working his full-time job. I’m working two part-time jobs and homeschooling our three boys, so the days require a lot of planning, focus, and energy.

Needless to say, we’ve been drinking a lot of coffee. Continue reading

The Mornings We Make

There was a time in our lives when mornings began with our three sons in front of the television.

They’re up early, always before six, and my husband and I prefer to wake slowly (for the first hour anyway). Turning on the TV resulted in kids sitting quietly while Chad and I sipped coffee and talked to one another about the things we were reading and thinking and planning.
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At one point, I questioned the morning TV habit. The kids were always grumpy and whiny when it came time to turn it off and get ready for school or church. It seemed like that hour of television cast a shadow over our mornings.

What would happen, I wondered, if the screen remained black?

Continue reading

Busy Heart

Take your busy heart to the art museum and the

chamber of commerce

but take it also to the forest.

The song you heard singing in the leaf when you

were a child

is singing still.

-From “What Can I Say” by Mary Oliver

 

This evening, at what should have been supper time, I felt called down to the river.

I stifled the urge for a few minutes, knowing there was laundry to be folded, lunch dishes piled beside the sink, books scattered across the dining room table from the day’s lessons.

But the murmur of the river is persistent. It drowns out the beep of the answering machine and the swoosh of the washing machine and the buzz of the neighbor’s weed whacker.

Continue reading

A Mama’s Promise to Parents of Little Ones

Something big happened last Sunday.

 I was upstairs getting ready for church, hustling (and sweating) like always, knowing I had the solo job of getting myself and three young boys dressed (Where are your church shorts?) and presentable to the public (Whoa, let’s clip those eagle talons!) and making it to church on time to get them settled into kids’ class so I could lead my women’s group.

When I came downstairs after blow-drying my hair, I nearly fainted.

Continue reading at HVFH –>


*Featured image by Amy Vivio photography


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Stacy