The Most Awkward Holiday

Most holidays have their darker side. There are the happy celebrators and then the rest of the population with all of their varied and complex feelings. For anyone who has lost, anyone who grieves, each holiday has its own fresh pain.

And here we are at Mother’s Day. 

I can’t remember the first Mother’s Day after I lost my daughter, but on the second, I was working at Starbucks. Displayed for the customers,we had taped pictures of our kids for people to look at while they waited for their coffee. I should have called in sick, but I deluded myself into thinking it wouldn’t be weird…

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Holiday Equilibrium

The Christmas season is upon us. I think I’m finally beginning to reclaim some joy for this season.  It’s amazing what an idyllic childhood of Christmases will do to hinder and taint your attempts to enjoy the holiday as a single adult.

Christmases past are perfect in my memory and all of that had to do with my mom.She was way better than Santa Claus. Most of the year she was pretty stressed with work and taking care of three girls on her own, but at Christmas time she was the Happiest Little Elf version of herself. Her happiness would spill over to her three daughters in a way that caused us to fight less and love more. The weekend after Thanksgiving she would pull out the boxes and the whole house would be transformed. A stack of the best Christmas records would sit on the record player and when they  had played through we would just flip them all over and start again.

As the youngest in the house, I always got up first on Christmas morning. Sometime around age 7 or 8 I crept down the hall before daylight and there in the living room, in the magical glow of the Christmas tree lights, sat a shiny, red bicycle. I knew it was for me. After gaping at it for a few seconds, I slipped into my mom’s room to wake her up. Before I said anything, her sleepy voice came from under covers, “I missed The Face.” Of course she meant the face I made when I saw that glorious bike, so I replayed it for her….

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Rattling the Rafters

This last week in class the speaker (Dan Shannon) spent a few hours teaching us (a bit of) what he knows about “simple church planting.” He worked for a few years with a man named Floyd McClung in South Africa with an organization called All Nations. Considering that I have only heard the most basic teaching about this stuff, I feel intimidated to retell it on the world wide web, but I want to at least process a bit of these running thoughts in my head….

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As You Loved Me

Do you ever wonder what Paul was like in person? Until I actually studied the New Testament as a whole I pictured him so pious and judgmental. After reading all of his letters and really considering what his life looked like, it’s impossible to remember how I got to those assumptions about him.

I do remember being vastly comforted  by the book of 2 Corinthians. I felt he must have been writing to people like me. When I discovered that the Corinthians were actually super critical of Paul, the humility with which he wrote becomes a hundred times greater. Standing in the face of those who say you are weak and explaining how much deeper your weakness goes than they could ever know… Well.. it has shown me what a deep trust and love Paul had for Jesus; how much his identity was based not on what men thought of him, but based solely on what the Father had done for him….

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Part of You Pours Out of Me

Growth is painful. I attest to this.
Do I have to ask whether it is worth it?

Would I change the things I have gone through if I had the choice? This question has always bothered me a little. I wouldn’t want to boil down my hard times to one or two “why”s. Oh, THIS is why that happened. I don’t want to do that because it seems to limit the ripple effect of growth.

Today a friend payed me a high compliment by saying that he enjoys how honest I am with myself… not just honest to others about who I am, but honest with myself about who I am. After he said this I considered how it would be if I did otherwise… or rather, how it is when I do otherwise. I constantly come back to the reality that I must always live with myself. I cannot get away from me, no matter what I do or where I go. I am with myself when I wake up in the morning, at my side all day, and then, still there when I lay down to sleep at night…..

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Unrehearsed Family Bonding

We’re still at Mom’s house in Idaho.

I’m happy to be with these people- you know- family. I’m a little surprised at how many good moments of connection there have been amidst so many thoughts in my head about life and church and family and the future. It’s like I have more senses and I can suddenly multitask  the input from each one without overload.

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The characters here are as follows…

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Tale of a Tire

Here we are in Idaho after a long adventure.

My sister Jill has a big ol’ RV which we rocked out in, flying down the sunny highway between Seattle and Spokane – 80’s style. Jill’s music mix featured AC/DC, Billy Squire, Rush, Fleetwood Mac and much more music from our childhoods. While the kids entertained themselves with technology and games, we sung along loud and tuneless and felt the bonds of always knowing each other blasting at us through the speakers of Jill’s ’92 Flair.

Those hours were good… those hours of rolling down the road in a rocking living room – but our carefree moments were interrupted by a sudden THUMP…. BUMP….

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Fambly

I have the kind of family that takes graphs and diagrams to explain.

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  Like most people I have a mom and a dad. Then I also have brothers and sisters. It’s when you ask me a question like “how many brothers and sisters do you have?” that things get confusing.

Don’t worry… I’m not going to try and explain it all here. If you are not already well acquainted with my family and you wonder where all of these people are coming from, just know that you are not alone…

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