Sunday, December 25, 2011

Monday, November 14, 2011


I had a moment today.
It was a normal day full of the usual activity; I went here, I did that, I was late for the other. I came home to a houseful of children. There were my 6, the 2 I babysit, and 2 from down the road. Someone is having a birthday tomorrow, so I baked her a cake. I did dishes, I washed counters, I frosted a cake, I hugged a crying child, I sent a cake home with the birthday girl, I warmed up a big pot of soup, fed it to all the kids- even the baby who has decided to protest his dinner as a nightly occurrance.
And through it all, I breathed in gratitude. So thankful to be in a home that is crazy, filled to the gills with people and all their mess. So glad to have people and relationships, love and contentement.
Yep, it feels good.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Grasping At His Hem

He walked right past her. He was so near. He was a world away. If only she could reach Him. Just one touch.
But the crowd that parted before Him swallowed Him up from behind.
She wanted to call out to Him, to grasp His hand, to fall at His feet and weep on Him.
But she couldn't. She had an issue.

Boy, don't we all. I have issues. I have ugly uncleanness. I have a blackness that trails behind me like a slimy slug. The difference? Sometimes only I can see it. Well, me... and Him. I don't have to go through my day declaring my uncleanliness. I am not bound by any law that says I have to warn people that if they get too close to me they might be affected by my bad mood, they might be sullied by my dark cloud of worry and despair. But I am still unclean.

She could stand it no longer. He was Her Jesus. He was here for her. And all these other people. But for her. Risking her very life and all she held dear she lunged forward. Pushing and shoving against the crowd, she defiled them all.
The exertion was almost too much for her in her state, weakened as she was. At last she was near enough. Lunging forward she fell to the ground, grabbing just a handful of His hem. Scandalous!

She was desperate. She was an out cast. Society dictated it. Me? Not so much. I live a relatively cozy life. Even when I issue blood, as she did, I am not hidden away from society- although it would be nice at times. She had nothing. Nothing but her Jesus. I have everything. It is easy not to need my Jesus.

He turned and saw the defiled woman still clutching His cloak. Her grasp causing His clothing to twist around Him. She was so bold as to sully the only perfect man? He would have been justified in having her put to death, but there was no rebuke. He simply looked at her and told her that she was whole.

I wonder if I could have read this passage the same without my issues. I need my issues. I need my issues so that I need my Jesus. I need not to hide my ugliness. I need to acknowledge that I am unclean. I need to be broken, so that He can make me whole.

Matthew 9:20-22

A New Perspective

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
James 1:2-3

Monday, November 7, 2011

I'm Not Alright

I'm broken inside, broken inside.

I am afraid. Of so many things.
I can't even begin to tell you all the things that hurt inside of me.
Because, honestly, I find myself crying and I don't always know why.

Only other time in my life have I had so much hurt.
Once before I have felt the daily ripping of my heart,
tearing it from my chest.
Once before I have felt the daily pain.

The pain that moves me to tears in the middle of nothing.
In the middle of everything.
The pain that had me clinging to my Jesus.
Clawing at the hem of His garment.
Begging Him to take it away.

Looking back at that time I see how God chose to bless me with a deeper understanding of His love for me.
He taught me that I am never alone no matter how adrift I feel.
He taught me that I am precious to Him, and He desires to give me good gifts.

So, I wonder, What do I have to learn this time?

If weakness is a wound that no one wants to speak of
Then cool is just how far we have to fall
And I am not immune, I only wanna be loved
But I feel safe behind the firewall

Can I lose my need to impress?
If you want the truth, I need to confess

I'm not alright
I'm broken inside, broken inside
And all I go through
It leads me to you, it leads me to you

Burn away the pride, bring me to my weakness
'Til everything I hide behind is gone
And when I'm open wide with nothing left to cling to
Only you are there to lead me on

'Cuz honestly, I'm not that strong

I'm not alright
I'm broken inside, broken inside
And all I go through
It leads me to you, it leads me to you

And now I'm moved, and now I'm moved, and now I'm moved, closer to you
And now I'm moved, and now I'm moved, and now I'm moved, closer to you
And now I'm moved, and now I'm moved, and now I'm moved, closer to you
And now I'm moved, and now I'm moved, and now I'm moved

I'm not alright
I'm broken inside, broken inside
I'm broken inside, broken inside
And all I go through
Leads me to you, leads me to you

I'm not alright
I'm not alright
I'm not alright
That's why I need you

Thursday, November 3, 2011



Sunday, October 30, 2011


Sitting. Just sitting.
Sitting and waiting.
It hurts to breathe.
Shallow. Gasping. Gulping at the air.
Trying to make sense of the enigma.
She. And me.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


A small jolt,
the dropping of the stomach,
eyes closed at the apex of the swing set.
beyond all probability,
between white mountains and white sky.
Leaving below all that is known
and stretching upward
to things not meant to be fathomed.
somewhat perilously,
between the lives known and loved
and the angels that watch in awe.
This is flight.

Monday, October 17, 2011


Happy Birthday, Caleb!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hey! Those Are My Kids You're Talking About!

Today I received the best e-mail mama can get. I am busting my buttons with pride over my kids. Wanna read it?

Mr. and Mrs. Gae,

I feel so fortunate to have Ella and Caleb in my sixth grade classes; they are exceptionally kind, gentle, curious and helpful. Oh and very bright too! The physical resemblance to Jesse was unmistakable with their big beautiful eyes. Each day they make me smile and I am a happier teacher knowing these fine role models are in my classroom demonstrating a yearning to learn and an appreciation for their education. Parenting is a natural calling for you as all of your children are cool people and good for this earth! I don't know how you manage a household with all those children, but they are amazing!! Congratulations! Perhaps you could write a guide to assist other parents!!


Ms. Brule'

Oh, yeah, Baby!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Upside Down

Last week I had a new friend over. We sat in the kitchen and had coffee and Pavlovas. It was a perfect afternoon. The kitchen was clean and homey. The sun was streaming through the dining room windows. The birds were chirping outside and all was right in my little corner of the world.

Until we walked into the living room. I am not kidding you when I say that the couch was upside down and backward. Literally. Why? Because the day before I had been on a frantic search for a small item that I thought might have been lost into the far reaches of the couch. The curtains were drawn and there were blankets, books, dishes, shoes and video games strewn all around the room. It was not my proudest moment. It didn't fit with the front I had created. It was a clashing symbol in the symphony of my morning.

Strangely, I didn't mind showing her. In fact I decided to show her so she would know that the kitchen was just a facade. That my real life was messy, disheveled, and harried just like every one else's. I am a real mom, with real messes, and a whole lot of living goes on in my living room.

I am going to go see my new friend today. I hope she doesn't knock herself out cleaning just for me. And I hope the coffee is hot and the conversation is lively. If I have to move a stack of papers off the chair, I will know it is because there is a whole lot of living that goes on in her house.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Dear Son;

You are 14 now.
To be honest, when you were 12 I thought I might sell you to the gypsies. Or kill you. But I managed not to do either, and I am glad.
Oh, you know we still have our moments- let's not pretend we don't. They still come more frequently than I would like. But then there are the other moments. There are the moments when we stand side by side and have a mature conversation. When you enlighten me with your compendium of useless knowledge. When you take initiative.
I was impressed the other day that you seamlessly brought your brother and sister into your circle of influence. I liked the way you made sure to show them how to get to school on time on their first day of middle school. I was even more impressed that you included them in your teen hang out scene. It was almost like a rite of passage and you initiated them into the "club."
Sometimes, I still wish a 14 year old was a man with a trade. Sometimes, I still think you haven't got a clue. But most of the time I think, "You are all right. I like you."

Love, Mom

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Monday, August 29, 2011


Abigail (Hebrew)- My Father is joy, My Father's joy.

On June 20th, my baby girl turned 9.
I love you, Abby.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Fifth Grade Graduation

We kicked off summer with 5th grade graduation. Times 2.

That's right. Next year I will have a high schooler, two middle schoolers,

and 2 elementary schoolers. Caleb and Libby will be leaving their elementary

school for the middle school down the road.

(Yikes! I may not be ready for this!)

This year it was a bigger deal because the principal who has been here longer than we have is taking a position at another school in our district. It was also a farewell for him.

Libby was one of the students chosen to read a poem for the principal at the ceremony.

We are going to miss our 5th grade teachers.

Luckily we have a few more coming up in the grades!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

June? July? Where Did They Go?

Here it is the first full week of August.
How did we get here?
It was such a blur, but I remember a few highlights.
There were birthdays.
There were many days spent in the pool.
There was the kind of news that makes you stop and reevaluate.
A broken car.
A broken washing machine.
A river.
Visits to see people we love.
I owe you some posts.
I'll get to them.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Life Is Too Short

Use the bendy straws.
Eat dessert.
Snuggle your child.
Hug them.
Say I love you.
Mean it.
Because life is too short.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Things We Don't Say

I don't call you often enough. I don't tell you how much I love you. I don't tell you how I wish you would get your life together and act like a human being. I don't tell you when you are making me so angry that I could eat nails. I don't tell you how proud I am of the choices you make. I don't hug you.
Because if I did, I would have to let you in to the places that ache. I would have to let you see me. I would have to show you all the tender places that hurt for you, that cheer for you, that are afraid for you, that are afraid for me.
But, just so you know, I DO love you. SO SO SO much.

Monday, June 20, 2011

SCHOOL'S OUT FOR SUMMER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tommorow is the kids last day of school and they are so excited! For school tommorow all they are doing is watching the slide show and it's only 2 hours. After school we are going to have a teacher appretiation lunch and all of their teachers are coming. We're going to have a full house!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

While Waiting For Inspiration To Hit...

I got hit with something else. It felt like this:
All over my body.
Except my throat.
It feels like this:
And my chest?
It might have one of these on it:
Except when I cough.
Then it is most definitely one of these.
So, I'm going to lay down for a few more days and hope something comes to me in a cough induced, oxygen deprived spasm.
If I live that long.
So, I took myself to the doctor today and she said, "You have bronchitis, and probably the early stages of pneumonia. Here's your prescription."
Thr good news is that thanks to the advances of modern medicine, I will live.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Hope Island

The Perfect (Birth)day

Yesterday I got to sleep in until 9:30. I woke up with a start because something was missing. I realized that I hadn't gotten the baby his 6:45 bottle. Grandma had to do that. I'm on vacation. I am on my anniversary vacation. The one where we don't go anywhere or do anything. It's a vacation from responsibility if nothing else.
After much laziness yesterday we decided to get up, pack a picnic, and get in our car. We started driving south and ended up in Ballard, a neighborhood of Seattle. There is a very nice park hidden at the end of the road, so we stopped there and had our picnic tucked up in a cove of dune grass, shielded from the wind. And then we laid like worms baking in the rare Seattle sunshine. I got a little pink.

We Strolled around Ballard and Sebastian found a bakery he wanted to try. He had a cinnamon roll and a coffee. I had a bite and a sip. After that we found the new location of my cousin's shoe store. My cousin has some amazing shoes at her store, Market Street Shoes.
We walked all over Ballard, then we stopped by my cousin's house to say "Hi." After we left we went out to Birthday/Anniversary dinner at Olive Garden, and then came home to watch a movie.

It was the perfect do-nothing kind of day.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Getting High

On May first, in order to usher in the 2011 hiking season, my husband decided we all needed to get high together. Real high. 3000 ft high. We even brought the baby along. He's new to the family, and not real experienced at getting high. He passed out around 1000ft. Poor baby. The kids were making fun of him- calling him a newbie- but the one thing they can't call him at 18 lbs is a lightweight. I got so high that day that I thought I was going to die. I felt like my head was going to explode and I was weak in the knees... I don't think I will be getting that high again for a while. Especially not while toting that not-so-lightweight!
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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

No Agenda

On Saturday we had a rare day with no agenda. Baby D had his 7 am bottle then went back to sleep, letting me sleep until almost 10 am. By the time I got up, dressed and went to wake him, he was peed up to his armpits! I was giving Baby D a bath when I remembered that there were going to be some celebratory doin's in town.
The big boys had gone rafting, taking the family vehicle, and Jonah was "spending the night at Grandma's house, all the way until Easter!" So, the girls found ourselves alone with Baby D and no agenda.
We strolled the mile to downtown enjoying the gentle sun warming our heads, and the gentle breeze cooling it back down. We missed the parade, arriving just as it was over. But I did hear a few people remark that they had blinked and missed the whole thing.... We walked a block to the free hot dog, cotton candy, and soda lunch and then I stood around visiting with people I knew while Baby D snoozed in his stroller, and the girls partook in some good, old fashioned redneck fun. Someone had set up a tractor tire on a teepee structure. They put the little people inside the tire and twisted as much as the ropes would allow. Then they let go. My girls went on that thing 4 times. With hot dogs in their bellies. I had to drag them away before someone blew hot dog chunks.
We bought cupcakes from the cupcake shop. But, honestly? I don't get the hoopla about buying cupcakes. And I really don't understand red velvet. Ghack! Since I had a check in my purse to deposit and we had no other plans, we walked the next mile to the grocery store where our bank is. I did my banking and the girls powdered their noses. We decided to have second lunch at the Mexican restaurant and then we walked the two miles home.
As I was walking with my girls, listening to their companionable chatter I thought about how rushed we make life. A four mile walk is not hard, yet I routinely drive 1/2 mile to the nearest grocery store because I simply do not have time to slow down.
It was nice.
I should schedule more agenda free days- just not tomorrow, because I don't have the time.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The One About Community

Have I ever said how much I love MOPs? Let me just tell you that if you are a mother with children younger than first grade, run, don't walk to your nearest MOPs group. If there isn't one near you, consider starting one. Seriously.
To say that life is a little topsy-turvy right now would be an understatement. We'll adjust, but I am not sure how I would have made the transition to this point with out all my friends. Friends who, not coincidentally, are mostly from MOPs.
From the moment we heard we might be housing this precious little baby, they have been praying about and for Baby D. When we had an arrival date, my friends started collecting the things he needed.
When Baby D came a week earlier than expected, my sister went to my cousin's house and picked up a crib, brought it over and helped set up his room. All that day friends showed up with clothes, toys, and even dinner for my family.
What a blessing to me to have such a community of friends who support each other in every endeavor. I am a rich woman indeed.
Do you need this in your life? Find a MOPs. Find a church. Find a group of women in the same life phase as you are in. Women need each other and we need community.

Friday, April 8, 2011

That's why God Gives Us Two Hands

If you look at the info thingy on the top of my blog it says:
When people ask me how many kids I have I hold up all the fingers on one hand and say, "A handful."
That would be all five of the fingers on one hand. One for each kid.
Except now I need 2 hands.
Yesterday we got a 6th child.
We don't know exactly how long he will be living with us, but while he is here he is going to get loved on real good.
We are crazy about babies.
We are crazy about kids.
We even like 'em when we don't agree with their lifestyle choices.
When we got the call from the very frantic mommy (who herself is like my child), there was no question that we would help her out in any way we possibly could. This is what form that help has taken.
And that is why God gives you two hands- just more fingers to count on.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hurry Up...And Wait

There is something happening around here. Something that I am not at liberty to discuss. Something that will change the complexion of our family. (Don't worry- our family core is strong and that is not what is changing.)
This is the big news I wrote about last time I posted.
It is not something that I persued, rather, something that came looking for me.
I am nervous because this is something I want to happen very much- and at the same time I wish it wasn't happening at all. I am being stretched as a mom, as a friend, and as a Christian who says she is willing to do whatever God tells her to do, to love the way God tells her to love.
There are so many steps in this process, and I feel like we have spent a lot of time in "hurry up...and wait" mode.
Is that cryptic enough or you?
Here's the deal, I need you all to pray.
Pray that our family finds favor in the eyes of God and man and can be used as a vessel of God's love to a broken and hurting world. Also, pray that God will take the mountain before us and command it to be thrown into the sea. Pray for patience, wisdom, and grace.
Thank you.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


That's how I would describe the month of February.
Big worry.
Big loss.
Big love.
Big news.
February made me cry.
It made me cry out.
It made me cry out to my Abba.
Do you know why?
Because He is bigger.
There is nothing so big in my life that God is not bigger still.
There is no financial strain that He doesn't already have the answer for.
There is no loss so big that He cannot comfort it.
There is no love so big that He is not in it.
There is no news so big that He didn't see it coming and already equip me to deal with it.
That's the great thing about knowing whose I am. There is no question that my Daddy can fix it all. He's BIG.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Happy Birthday, Little Bit

On the 21st of February my Miss Elizabeth turned 10 years old.
She is full of sass and spunk, good will and good humor.
She is eager to please and easy to love.

Happy Birthday, Little Bit.
Love, Mom
I realize that this post is long overdue.
I have had her picture uploaded for nearly 2 weeks.
I just needed to get past the fact that for the first time in her short life there will not be another birthday picture like the one below. This is the first time since she was born that Elizabeth has not shared her birthday with her great grandma. I'm sure Grandma's party was more spectacular than Libby's, though.

She would have been 90 on the 21st.
We missed her.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Saturday, February 12, 2011

My Grandma's Hands

I stood holding her hand yesterday, I stoked her arm, I talked to her a little, and I thought.
I thought about her hands and her arms.

For my entire life Grandma has been "squishy," but lately she has lost so much weight that the skin on her arms hangs loose. Her knuckles are gnarled by the years and by arthritis. Her hands are swollen from the IV's snaking along the bed, biting every finger and hand.

But, her hands are broad. Her fingers are not long and elegant. They are short and stocky. They are like my mom's. Like my aunts'. Like mine.

Her skin is pale, dotted with angel kisses up and down her porcelain arms. Like my mom's. Like my aunts'. Like mine.

My grandma's arms have rocked us to sleep. They have hauled our laundry out to dry. They have carried boxes and boxes of produce for sale. Her hands have spanked us. They have fed us. They have bathed us. They have dressed and diapered us.

Grandma's hands have reached all the way up her arms, and straight to her heart. They have been hands of love to each and every one of us.

Just like my mom. Just like my aunts. And I hope someday, someone will say, just like me.

Friday, February 11, 2011

A Testament To Family

We are big.
We are loud.
We are opinionated.
We disagree on most everything.
We don't see each other as often as we should.
Either we can't or we won't.
We grew up.
We changed.
We had kids.
Some of our kids had kids.
But when the call came, we were all there.
Anyone who could make it, did.
Those who couldn't were there with us in spirit.
Catching up.
Meeting spouses, significant others, and babies for the first time.
Remembering how much we love each other.
Wishing we could remember it more often.
In better circumstances.
Because in the end, we are family.

This picture, taken in 1996, represents about 1/2 of my grandma's direct descendants.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

God Is God

And I am not.
Pretty simple to grasp.
Extremely hard to implement.

This week my Grandma, who will be 90 on the 21st, had a massive hemorrhage in her brain.
I gotta tell you. I am scared. Not that she will die. I am afraid that she won't. And that she won't recover. And that she will be stuck indefinitely in a body that no longer functions. That she will be tied to this earth, not freed to be with our Savior at her wedding feast.

I was talking to my friend, Kelly, yesterday and she reminded me that God is always in control. I love the way she put it.
"God did not get up on Tuesday morning and take roll. "Mary? Mary? Mary Higgins? No Mary? Well, I wonder where she is?'"
Of course He didn't. Of course He knows when she will be making it home.
Because He is God, and I am not.
God thing, too.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Perfect Smile

A smile costs nothing but gives much. It enriches those who receive without making poorer those who give. It takes but a moment, but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever. None is so rich or mighty that he cannot get along without it and none is so poor that he cannot be made rich by it. Yet a smile cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen, for it is something that is of no value to anyone until it is given away. Some people are too tired to give you a smile. Give them one of yours, as none needs a smile so much as he who has no more to give. ~Author Unknown

I love this kid, and I love his smile. He doesn't like it so much because he is misssing some teeth due to a congenital defect. He lost his baby teeth and there just weren't any adult teeth to fill the gaps. Therefore, the teeth he does have are w i d e l y spaced. This makes his bite funny and his smile, well that picture above is what I usually get in a snapshot.

We have consulted with an orthodontist about braces, and even though now would be the ideal time to move his teeth, we just cannot find the $4000-$5000 it would cost. It kinda breaks my heart.

When I heard that invisalign was doing a giveaway promotion, I whispered a little prayer, "Please, God?" The difference between me wanting to give something to my child and God wanting to give something to His? He owns it all, anyways. So, I am doing my part and posting about my wish for a perfect smile.

If you want to check it out, click here.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

You Decide

Since we built our kitchen I have wanted these exact stools for my island. I told my sister, Kris, the second hand diva, and she kept her eyes open until she found them on Craig's List for the price I told her I wanted to pay. Don't they look fabulous here? Thanks, Kris.
My only problem is that they always look like this- and worse because of all the junk and gunk that gets dropped down there by my kids. It's driving me crazy to see this every time I come into my kitchen. The other problem about this particular mess is that this is the main walkway through the kitchen.
Option 2 would be to go back to the bench that my husband built while we waited for the right stools to come along. The problem with this set up is that all that junk and gunk is harder to clean because the bench is so large, and you have to move the whole thing to clean under it.
So, help me out here. What would you do if this were your dilemma?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Hiding The Pop Tarts

I’m going to be honest with you; When I went to the store today, I bought Pop-Tarts. It happens about twice a year. I throw all caution to the wind and I put a box of sugar and preservative laden, frosted, toasted goodness in my cart. And I hope that the kids don’t see them when I stash them in an appropriately high cabinet. One that isn’t for food. Where they would NEVER think to look.. When they go to bed I sneak a shiny foil wrapped no-no out and into the toaster. I hope they cannot smell the forbidden treasure as it is toasting. And then I sit down and enjoy that sinfully good morsel all. by. myself.
Tell me you’ve never done this. Go ahead, tell me.
Maybe it isn’t Pop-Tarts, but I am sure you have a secret, guilty pleasure all of your own.

“So, why,” you may ask, “are you telling me this?”
Because I am sure you can relate!