at the seaside

Growing up, the ocean was always a part of summer for my family. We buried uncles in the sand, strolled the boardwalk of Jones Beach at dusk, learned to ride waves with my dad, and collected too many shells that never made it home. My kids have grown up much the same way, visiting their Papa every summer, walking through his lawn to the rocky coast of Maine, smelling the roses and the salt, occasionally driving to a calm harbor to swim and find hermit crabs.

But it’s been a few summers now, thanks to the shifting sands of life. I was ever so thankful when we rather spontaneously decided to make the trek to the shore to spend time with family. The weather was perfect, the family time ever so wonderful, and the beaches were perfect. Thank you, God, for the roaring waves and the steady tide and the colors of sun setting over an endless horizon.

And yes, the ocean is not nearby. We all pile into the van and drive for many hours, and traveling with this crew of kids is one of the easiest things I do. Our drive home was eleven solid hours in the van, and guess who was the only antsy one, as far as I could tell? Me. Yup, my four year old’s contentment challenged me to take a deep breath and just settle in for the long haul. And we made it. And it was so good.

His faithfulness and ours.

Great is Thy faithfulness, and oh, is that ever true! A rock, a narrow path, a guiding light appearing in my soul’s night, a vine full of life-flow, a consuming fire. Captain of the hosts, Intercessor, Shepherd, Father, Word alive forever, Peace, Truth. Defender, Deliverer, Lamb silent before the slaughter. Righteousness like mighty mountain, Love like depth of ocean. My rest, my hope, my salvation.

He makes me stand firm. Makes my arm strong so that I can bend a bow of bronze. Makes my heart soft and my tongue lie still.

His love becomes truer. Is this the reward of the man who perseveres under trial? Truth becomes knowing.

This is how my life goes right now: soul deep in meditation, hands and feet and lips busily serving the precious people God has given to me to steward.

Great is Thy faithfulness — change the sheets from last night’s accident. Oh God my Father — scramble to find red ribbons for 4th of July hair. Search me, oh God, and know my heart — dive into sewing lessons for four eager daughters. Purify in Your refiner’s fire — grab chubby hand for an impromptu adventure in the woods.

Yesterday for a brief moment, I had only two little girls. They were dressed in flowy summer dresses from our outing earlier, and we prepared lemonade with mint and big red strawberries and a vase of flowers, and we sat out under the umbrella and chatted while waiting for our guest. It was special. And they tumbled about a bit while Guest and I talked of things that are heavy in adult hearts but are lost to little girl minds.

God is able to stretch us, to give us hearts to serve by trimming little toe nails and watching “cool tricks” while also entering into the labor of hard spiritual warfare. Faithfulness is a great weapon of ours, and the action of one foot in front of the other is an offensive attack on an enemy whose great aim is to sideline and isolate us. Great is Thy faithfulness — and because He is faithful, I, too, can be faithful. It is my act of worship, warfare, and a declaration of trust.

one small life

Happy July, fellow citizens of Planet Earth. We are living and breathing here in July of 2022, something millions before us have not done. Those of us living and breathing the new life of the Spirit are doing even more than simply taking our turn, populating the planet. We are the remnant of God, His representatives and own special people. We bear His light to the world, a world He desperately loves.

These are strangely big thoughts for a middle aged woman, sitting along at a picnic table, listening to leaves rustle and birds sing. My eyes are puffy from summer allergies, my back creaky because age + sleep somehow does not = refreshed. My planner has exciting things like, “[eradicate] spiderwebs; chicken out; laundry.” I will shower and dress, my energy will continue for a few hours before I begin to flag, and within a quarter turn of the earth’s rotation, I will already be thinking about making it till bedtime.

And yet, somehow, my life matters. It matters not because of what I will do — although that does, indeed, matter as He has prepared good works for me, and that is such a comforting and exciting thought — but it matters because of Whose I am. His breath fills my lungs. His praise stirs my soul. His voice becomes the thoughts in my head. He directs my path.

I’m not terribly bright. My mind is like a sieve. My talents are so mediocre it’s hard to see them as talents. If I think too far ahead my imagination flatlines. If I look around too much, I get overwhelmed.

I am not special or remarkable.

Except, somehow, I am. My soul is loved, held, shaped, washed, restored, purified by a holy God, the eternal King, the Father of all. His eye is on me.

This is my somewhat private rumination. Private because I’m putting this out there, but without any social media accounts to push it, I’m suddenly feeling under the radar, back to 2004 before I had any accounts anywhere. Did I even have an iPhone? Not sure. I’m back there. I can’t even get my current somewhat broken phone to upload pictures except that one, that sweet moment with Enid’s grubby fingernails and little 4 year old fingers, holding up a treasure for Beatrice to capture with a camera.

So, July 1st, hello. It’s a quiet life in many ways, a small life. But it’s a called-forth-by-God life, where every word spoken has the opportunity to bring grace and power, my eyes have the ability to see according to the Spirit, and my every breath can be a praise to the Lord and Father of all.

June: green gardens, green soul.

In no particular order, June so far:

A well done piano recital, Jameson off to D.C. with his high school classmates, evening strolls with Daddy, gardens tended and enjoyed, beautiful daughters, kindergarten completed, 8th finished and a launch into high school, last year’s geranium loving its life as an indoor plant.

Birds in the morning, soft sun on lush green, pollen making my head fuzzy and slow. Pink and green my absolute favorite colors — at least, in June.

Deep in my soul, the Holy Spirit shaping me, tending me, even enjoying me. Digging my roots deep into gospel truth, rivers of grace, letting my leaves unfurl, lush green. Days of quenching dew and gentle sun and a breeze that makes 75* more than perfect — days of dry and harsh heat, or torrents that threaten to drown and erode. No matter that climate around my soul, I am firmly planted, green-leafed, fruit in season as I allow myself to be shaped, tended, fed by HIM.

a bit about Mother’s Day, a lot of Just Because photos

(These pictures are Just Because.

Half of the pictures I don’t even take, but instead are happy surprises of moments or vignettes that my children think to capture. This is even more fun — to be busy living my life only to realize that they are as happily aware of blessed as I am.)

I must write that my Mother’s Day was the laughably perfect Mother’s Day:

I got to play keyboard for my son, who led worship at church. Jameson was the drummer and I got to enjoy his brand new 8″ mahogany Gretsch snare with him. (Those details mean almost as little to me as they probably do to you, but I know that he loves it!) My lovely daughters helped Ryan get everyone else to church with plenty of time to spare.

I was thrilled to share a message at church for my fellow moms.

Ryan grilled perfect steaks for dinner, which was enjoyed around the dining room table amidst laughter and chatter. A stunning bouquet was the centerpiece, also thanks to Ryan, and the kids gave me sweet handmade cards filled with touching sentiments that just must be saved forever!

The boys rested and watched basketball (I think?) while the girls and I took our Ben and Jerry’s to the beautiful outdoors and had a nice little girl party.

I finally returned indoors to find that — oops! — the dinner clean up memo had been missed and a disaster awaited me. Classic! That’s okay. Moms are very good at expedient clean up, and I put my talent to work in a jiffy.


An hour or so outdoors with my own dear mom, brothers, several sisters, and their families was the cherry on top! Then home, utterly exhausted, to bathe children who were supposed to be bathed Saturday night but oh well. You win some, you lose some, but really, I think we’ll all live.

And I couldn’t get bedtime started quickly enough. I happily fluffed my own pillow and collapsed before 9pm. A full day of mom-ing. A full day of being loved, which I do not take for granted.


And waking up to the dawn of another full day in which I will take my place, simultaneously buckling on my sword while resting in the grace of Jesus. Here’s to another year of motherhood!


Daffodils from Fiona, birds’ nest from Beatrice — do gifts get any lovelier?

life, to the hilt

Oh, life! So, so, so much. Little toes to tickle, letters to learn, papers to grade, hearts to win, arguments to hear, schedules to straighten, rides to give, priorities to sort, a husband to love, passports to procure, ballet buns to pin, beds to change, hair to trim, smiles to give, cheeks to kiss, tantrums to tame, worship to lead, scripture to share, phone calls to receive, wisdom to seek, meals to plan, choirs to teach, friends to connect with, sisters to keep up with, vitamin C to pass out, baths to run, clothing to sort, plants to water, parties to host and dinners to serve, visitors to welcome, and oh yes! Exercise and water and feeding my soul.

So something has to give, and I see it in my sparse camera roll, my neglected writing (and let’s be honest, my dirty refrigerator, my dresser-top piles, and the barely-noticed daffodils.)

I find this to be a season summed up in two favorite quotes by two favorite heroes, Jim and Elisabeth Elliot:

“Wherever you are, be all there! Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.”
“Just do the next thing.”

We are living to the hilt, for sure, and while there is the knowledge of being stretched, of much being demanded of Ryan and me, there is abundance and running over. Laughter of children and excitement over what we’re all doing and rich moments gathered together in prayer and putting our backs into it, as it were, all together, heave ho. I may not quite recall all the fuzzy moments of March and April, but we lived it!

Jesus is so good. So faithful and so near. He is the answer for every befuddling encounter we have in life — mine, yours, all of it. The small cares and anxieties, the global conflict that is larger than any man. He stands forever as the Savior of the world, and He is the Way of life and overcoming.