When You Can’t Feel Anything

I’m unpacking lunch boxes, handing out after school snacks and listening with all ears tuned to little people chatter about their day, when out of the blue her call comes through.

Her…the one who’s journeyed deep waters with me.  Who wasn’t afraid of rampaging texts as I worked honestly through the latest crisis at hand.

The one who stood firm in faith as funds emptied and we waited for jobs to come through.

The one who always said confidently “Jesus goes with you” as we’d up and pack for another “even though I walk through the valley” travel.

And all this mostly through text and email.  The encouraging steady heart of a friend reassuring she was there through it all.

Not tiring.

Not wearying that the battles re-occurred and bloodied everyone in the process.

She was and is and will be there.

We chatted small talk when a catch in my throat caught as she revealed her true reason for calling: to cheer on one who was battle weary.

The words were few, but something in her quiet resolute heart opened a window of my soul giving permission to feel.

To feel how hard it’s been.

To count the cost.

To shed tears of loss.

To remember that in all the getting it wrong, my Father’s heart is always warmed by faithfulness.  By our picking-back-up-agains to follow into unknown seas.

And for the first time in months, tears flowed and didn’t stop long into the moonless night.

Who knew?


The ticket out of survival mode.

Softening a heart preparing it for spring planting.



2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog. Thank you for your faithful readership and support!  This blog helps keep me going on dark days. Happy New Year!

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,200 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


jell-o(Apologies for the pre-mature post.  I-pads do tricky things with fingers.  Just delete if you received earlier via email the uncompleted one, and here is the real deal…I promise. Happy New Year friend.)

Our dear friend, who’s more like an uncle really, was visiting over Christmas when in the middle of one of my fever-spike-melt-downs, help girl in her innocent ten year old voice turns to him and asks “any words of wisdom?.”

Any words of wisdom…anyone??

“Because we’re all clinging to jello right now” I wanted to scream! “And it’s not working out for us!”

And I feel we sort of all do this at New Years. We’re peering through the thick silence echoing our question and we wonder, is there more to cling to this year…than just jello? Will resolutions help? Or more discipline? Or the desire to really want a change?

I wish I had some flowery high in the sky answer that would end all pain and suffering. That would give brave and make a difference. But I’ve learned that in all my striving, there’s much I can’t control and at the end of the day an empty list leaves for an infinitely more guilty heart.

So I give you this. This the mantra of my year. The hope for each uncertain day. And I think you’ll agree it’s considerably better than jello. So let’s put our hope not in New Years resolutions, but in the God who makes all things new.

Relying on God has to begin all over again as if nothing had yet been done. ~C. S. Lewis

God With Skin

Gazing at our tree tonight smoothie in hand, wearing pjs that have become my new fashion statement, and I’m soaking it all in.

Norfolk pine Christmas tree

Because THIS was celebrated a mere few days ago!

Manger scene

And oh how quickly I forget.advent wreath with 24 candles

I love these notes and these words because they ground us by taking us on a journey back to the Middle Ages where saints ever since and before agree with one voice that our King has come! This God who was read about and who’s fame spread across the earth actually came. Came into our space, our world, and put on skin so we could know himSo we might be able to see his face for the first time.

And the world will never be the same. Your life and my life and the lives of our friends and families don’t have to remain stuck in the murky dark of sin.  There is hope! So much glorious hope for all our tomorrows and the missteps and tripping downs. Because with Jesus it’s not about our performance. It’s about basking in his presence. Him, our light our hope our salvation…our Christmas miracle. The best gift!

Don’t lose the beauty as we slip beyond glitzy holidays into the new year. Capture it.  Hold it close to your heart and whisper it to yourself in the dark.  The light of the world has dawned!

“Of the Father’s Love Begotten”
by Aurelius C. Prudentius, 413, cento
Translated by John. M. Neale, 1818-1866
and Henry W. Baker, 1821-1977

Of the Father’s love begotten
Ere the worlds began to be,
He is Alpha and Omega,
He the Source, the Ending He,
Of the things that are, that have been,
And that future years shall see
Evermore and evermore.

Oh, that birth forever blessed
When the Virgin, full of grace,
By the Holy Ghost conceiving,
Bare the Savior of our race,
And the Babe, the world’s Redeemer,
First revealed His sacred face
Evermore and evermore.

O ye heights of heaven, adore Him;
Angel hosts, His praises sing;
Powers, dominions, bow before Him
And extol our God and King.
Let no tongue on earth be silent,
Every voice in concert ring
Evermore and evermore.

This is He whom Heaven-taught singers
Sang of old with one accord;
Whom the Scriptures of the prophets
Promised in their faithful word.
Now He shines, the Long-expected;
Let creation praise its Lord
Evermore and evermore.

Christ, to Thee, with God the Father,
And, O Holy Ghost, to Thee
Hymn and chant and high thanksgiving
And unending praises be,
Honor, glory, and dominion,
And eternal victory
Evermore and evermore.

Making Lemonade Out Of Lemons (that weren’t on the holiday shopping list)

To all you beautiful ones in the medical field, you have NO IDEA the blessing you are to so many. Tonight at the ER God sent the sweetest nurse practitioner to diagnose my double pneumonia all the while holding my hand so full of compassion and empathy. Humbled by the hard work you do every waking day to make others well. Thank you and carry on carrying on!

…..and while we were at it we decided we might as well make it a date. After all…we didn’t have the kids and it is in sickness and in health.


For The Weary, The Sick, Or The Sick At Heart This Christmas Season When Your Child’s Begging To Bake Cookies

Sometimes you have nothing left and one extra request can break the camel’s back.

This is what I was afraid of when little ones came home from school the first night of holiday break begging to make these because “Johnny’s” mother brought them into class and they are SO cool…and MOM WHY DON’T WE EVER MAKE THINGS LIKE THIS!

A sigh later and a big prayer for some get up and go and we were off making these.

And the surprise for this weary mom? They were easy! And they are fun! And much of it can be done by my six, eight and ten year old as I cheered from the couch.  In fact, if we never make it to cookies in 2014 I’m patting us all on the back for at least doing these.

Marshmallow chocolate candy cane fun

So really.  Put on the coffee or the cocoa, Christmas music and your slippers and get ready for some forever memory making that won’t break the camel’s back….I promise! And you will feel SO gourmet sipping your homemade peppermint mocha.

Holiday dippers

Holiday Dippers

1 bag of medium size marshmallows

1 box or bag of mini candy canes

1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Half-n-half cream

Split your supply of candy canes in half.  Crush half of them while they are in their wrappers (I used a meat pounder and let my 6 year old have a ball)

Unwrap the other candy canes and place in a bowl.

Melt your semi-sweet chocolates by adding a tablespoon of cream and then placing in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between until smooth and creamy.  Add extra cream as needed to thin.

Place straight part of candy cane stick into marshmallow.  Dip as far as you like in the melted chocolate.  Roll in crushed candy cane.  Place on wax paper to cool and harden.  I didn’t have that so I improvised with tin foil sprayed lightly with cooking spray.

Chocolate peppermint dipped marshmallows

Wrap individually in plastic bags to give as a gift or store in a container with lid to use with all your hot chocolate drinks and/or coffee.  It makes for a delightful minty drink.  Enjoy!

Peppermint Holiday Dippers

Christmas Miracle

I’ve missed you.

Really I have.

And it’s not because of lists long or decked halls that has kept me away.

Truth be told it’s been in the tremblings to breathe in and exhale slow…between rounds of strep, pneumonia, tonsillitis, my little man’s surgery and a few colds later that I’ve thought of you through tears under starry nights.

And I promised I’d write. I really did.  And I knew you’d understand this unraveling of strength as reserves relinquished to the never ending urgent needs only white coats in hospitals understand.

But I’m here, I am. And we survived tattered and I never felt more cared for than I have in these the weakest of days. And never did I learn more than then that it really is ok to ask for prayers a zillion times over for the same thing.

Because one time or another we’ve all been there.  Or we’ll all get there.

The place where we need a Christmas miracle.

Maybe it happens so often around this time of year in all our scurrying around to make ready for the King about to enter this fragile frail world, that our little “Bethlehems” become broken. And us in our searching for an inn with vacancies to rest our weary souls, stumble upon a stable instead.

Something quite different than our wildest dreams and yet more than enough is found there. For we realize the God-size hole in all of us can only be filled by the babe in a manger.

In the middle of all this circus craziness, I paid bills to find we had just enough for the month.  Nothing more and nothing less.  I whispered it softly into my just-slumbering-about-to-graduate-husband’s ear how it was time for a miracle.

And then it happened.

THE WEEK he finished school, a call came in for a job he’d casually thrown in an application for “just in case.”  And to this girl’s giddy amazement he’s found work just in time. For it’s at the desperate edges of our lives when we most need a miracle that God delights to meet us.

In all our ninth hours, God shows up.

Emanuel is truly God with us.

Our Christmas miracle. And I can’t stop singing “O Come O Come Emanuel” because somehow I sense this is only the beginning.


Expectant Waiting

We pull out the wreath like we did the year before and the year before that. And with it comes a sense of expectancy. A sense of knowing that something big is about to happen. That something miraculous is coming! And we wait a day at a time, a candle lit at a time. A reminder that every minute inches us closer…expectancy building and us being enlarged in the waiting.


And in the middle of all this expectant waiting we hear a knock.

“Jesus stands at the door knocking. In total reality he comes in the form of the beggar, of the dissolute human child in ragged clothes, asking for help. He confronts you in every person that you meet. As long as there are people Christ will walk the earth as your neighbor , as the one through whom God calls you, speaks to you makes demands on you….Christ is knocking. It’s still not Christmas, but it’s also still not the great last Advent, the last coming of Christ…The Advent season is a season of waiting, but our whole life is an Advent season, that is a season of waiting for the last Advent, for a time when there will be a new heaven and a new earth.~God is in the Manger by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Join me will you? In this waiting, in this longing for Christ’s coming and let’s ponder truth each day of Advent preparing hearts for His arrival.image

Just What Every Holiday Table Needs

Every year like clock work she’d pull out the hand crank grinder weathered dull by time and use. We’d pour in cranberries and turn, crimson spilling the bowl full. Sisters near quartering oranges and apples adding to the berries until the room wafted bright of citrus oils while we sang Over the River and Through the Woods, only we knew grandmother was coming to our house not us to hers. Sometimes snow danced and other times just bare branches with a few lone leaves, but whatever the weather we’d have this to grace our table.

imageYears later, and with another generation, I pull food processor off the shelf throwing in the same tantalizing ingredients. And this heart bursts full with each bite. Memories in every spoonful.


Cranberry Salad

1 bag of whole cranberries

1 orange quartered, rind on

1-2 apples cored and quartered (I like Granny Smith or honey crisp or a combo)

1/2-3/4 cup of sugar to taste

Place all the ingredients in the food processor except the sugar, and pulse until the right consistency. Some like it fairly chunky and others like me prefer it finely chopped but not puréed. Add your sugar and pulse to incorporate. Store in the fridge for at least 12 hours before serving to chill and flavors to marinate. Serve cold with turkey or any chicken dish….or by itself a spoonful at a time.