4

12 Midnight

The moon is shining tonight. 
In a clear sky.
With not even a whiff of wildfire smoke in the air.
For days, stench and smog hung over Montana as wildfires raged out of control. I went to bed last evening with the strong wind blowing rancid smoke in the cracks round the windows. 
I woke this morning to blue sky. Clear air. Rain drenched grass. Overturned lawn furniture. And Singing birds.
And I thank God. 
And I think of the firefighters who lost their lives this week. I hope they were prepared to meet their Maker. I hope they died painlessly. I hope they just sort of drifted off those wild mountains and into glorious Heaven. 
I think of their families. And how it is probably always midnight in their hearts right now and they will never forget the wildfires of 2015. 
I think of others who have faced the 12 o’clock midnight of their lives recently. And how every day for the next 100 or 100,000,000 may consist of the minutes that creep toward dawn. 
How sometimes it feels like you will grope forever in this smog of life. That just when you catch a glimpse of dawn in the horizon, the rains come again. And you bow your heart and weep. 
How you get tired of the life you are living. How you wish you could change it all and it would be high noon and you would know what carefree feels like again. And you could laugh from your depths again. 
I have found a truth. It never ever changes. It is there through smoke screens and bright sunshine. Through silence and tears. It is the strength that weaves itself into the very fibers of life. I painted it in childish script to remember. it’s simple and genuine.
    

And because of that love….I PROMISE. No matter what midnight you are facing right now. No matter of you see the clock striking midnight in your very near future…if it I’d half past 12 . Or somewhere between darkest and dawn….

The DAWN will come! 
Keep hanging on. The LIGHT will become brighter and brighter and the day spring will dawn in your heart. And you will open your eyes in the most glorious new born sunshine you have ever awaken to.
His relentless love will always always pursue and lead you!
He will create beauty in you!

  

   

1

Kierra’s Birthday 

It’s already August. That magical month between the glorious July of summer and the autumn tones of chilly September.

We packed our July so full I didn’t have time to catorgize all the memories but they are stored safe and sound in my heart. 

July 10. The day, 5 years ago that our Wildflower Girl looked into our eyes for the very first time and we were never the same. We celebrated her fifth birthday in our hearts and her second birthday in Heaven by traveling back to her birth town, Missoula, MT. It’s one of our favorite places in MT, full of vibrance and life and beauty. 

  
We took our camping gear, and pitched our tent in between the July drizzles. The town was full of folks from all over America for the Missoula Marathon and Half Marathon. (We got to watch our good friends finish strong…more on that later;) Most of the motels were full as well as the campground. They had no actual camp sites left but they let us set up in their ‘overflow space’, so we still made out just fine! Hot showers, bathrooms, and a laundry made it very comfy and the all night rain was actually nearly as delightful music as a lullaby.

We bought a bouquet of balloons for our Princess and hiked up to the “M” on the hill that overlooks Missoula. It’s made out of huge slabs of poured concrete , painted white. It’s quite a climb with  11 switchbacks and a gain of  620 ft in elevation from the starting point to the top of the trail. It still amazes me that folks RUN up and down as part of their workout program! That’s serious stuff :) 

Kobe loved the climb and did better then I expected. Of course the adventure of releasing balloons at the top made it all more exciting! Every one on the trail assumed it was his birthday, so there were birthday wishes the whole way up :) 

We stopped and rested occasionally and Kobe rode his Daddy’s strong shoulders for awhile.

  
Yep! It’s steep! The hill behind Kobe is typical….so there’s no wonder they carved in switchbacks :)

We got to the top and although the skies were grey and drizzly, it was still a gorgeous view.

  
  

The journey uphill is always worth it!!

We sang Happy Birthday to Kierra and Kobe launched the balloons. 

  
They floated lazily out across the town and eventually caught an upward eddy. We could still see them an hour later when we got down to the trailhead. Just a speck way way up in the heavens. 

  
  


Kobe and I made some special things to send to Kierra’s grave. He painted rocks and made a birthday card.

“Momma, are there mailboxes in Heaven?” He asked as he poured over his little card. Oh how I wish, my son! How I wish!

  
Steve had the great suggestion of a bouquet of silk flowers for our Princess. I had fun arranging them . I can’t imagine the glorious colors and intricate blossoms she is running through today! 

   
 
Our little Wildflower Girl. We send you love!!

  
I have been listening to some amazing talks on suffering recently. One of the things that stood out to me…. Suffering WILL come to every person on earth. It’s not IF it comes….but WHEN it comes. It may look totally different in my life then it does in your life. Suffering has many faces. But one thing it has in common….it hurts like mad. It’s inevitable but it is totally NOT too much for God to handle. 

No situation is too hard and broken for His grace. No fear is too great for His assurance. No past too marred for His new beginning. Even the faintest spark of an ember will be fanned into a profound blaze by His  gentle love and nourishing. 

I am praying to God for His eyes and His heart. Eyes that look beyond the ‘outward appearance’. That look beyond the physical things like names and clothes and cars and houses and incomes….or lack of them. I beg God to give me eyes that see His seed of potential and greatness that He created in every person born. That soul that will never die. That child hiding in the deepest recesses of the buffest. 

That His grace that has ransomed me would flow through me…giving me a fresh vision, a fresh perspective and the love of God spilling out of my life to others. 

Because this life….it’s about IN HIM and THROUGH HIM and TO HIM that we exist. 

Not about my hurt or my fears. When I have the courage to face them head on and name them for what they are, their power takes a beating! When I claim HIS power that Is FAR beyond anything we can imagine….

I have HOPE. 

And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, Because He has given us His Holy Spirit to fill our heart with His love. Romans 5:5

  

5

It seems when I boldly declare my stand for Christ and His promises, that crafty Satan comes weaseling depressing thoughts and degrading hopeless words into my mind.

This weekend we spent some time with Steve’s folks camping and also some time just with the three of us.

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We had a great time but I fought hard to keep fear and doubt at bay and sometimes it felt like I would dunk right under into negativity and that it was just too much effort to pop back up. 

With those feelings came multiple emotions. We received the shocking news of a 21 year old Amish cousin who was hit head on with a car while biking. It was a fatal accident and my heart breaks for his family. I will never forget waking up the first morning after Kierra died and feeling that suffocating grief paralyse us.

Emotions can do that too. Eventually the original struggle has morphed into so many little tendrils that snake entwined together and before you know it you are nearly crying because you haven’t gotten your hammock  hung yet and its already Late July. And you hate yourself for being sad over such a trivial thing.

So tonight after unpacking the essentials from our excursion I took my journal and sat outside at our little retro table and had myself a serving of tears. A main course of writing and frank conversing with God and dessert of slapping nasty mosquitoes.

I read some wonderful reasssuring verses and hung onto Truth as hard as I could.

Then about an hour later the most amazing thing happened. A gorgeous rainbow stretched in the pink hued sun set sky.

And there was no rain even.

Just smoke from far off forest fires. Orange and pink and dark clouds.
And this pastel rainbow.
I smiled.
And felt the glow of Gods love radiate in me. It was true! He loved me.
And maybe- just maybe. Kierra had a rainbow request He filled for her ;)

You can borrow my rainbow today if you are struggling to feel His love.

Its not a great phone picture. But its a promise.

And promises are kept .
Always. By God.
He will never drown us with a flood He cannot save us

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from.

2

Who AM I?

It’s when the moon sets all smoky orange and surrounded with darkness.

It’s when the yellow butterfly that has been swooping by my window all month flutters through the sprinkling water.

It’s when the wind blows just so.

When the wire fan whirls over Kobe. And he insists on having it turned on. 

(Just like his sister used to. I can still hear her whining in her bed until we turned her fan on at night for her. ;)

It’s when the rain comes and the fragrance of  green permeates the air.

Its when my Steve turns toward me and smiles on purpose.

It’s when my little Kobe spontaneously says ” You’re cute. Would you be my best friend?” 

 (From his car seat in the back of the dark car at 10:00 PM.)

I catch snatches of Kierra and hang onto the love.

It’s when the miles of clouds have such glittering bursts of gold streaked all around them and through them that I can barely breathe. 

When there is sunset all around you in a big circle of sky and clouds and space and every direction has a different splash of color.

It’s when the light and love of His beauty shines through my fear and I can scarcely see for the GLORY He has in store for me. For the blessings He pours out on me. For the gifts He gives me. For the grace that enfolds me. Empowers me.

 Every. Single. Moment. Every. Single.Day. 

I catch a tiny glimpse of my Jesus and His wonderful love.

He created each of us. In His image. No matter what you think you are or are not. 

Child of God,  You are HIS! 

Redeemed. Newly Created. Free.

I am  believing that. I am not who I used to be. I can let go of the past and the mistakes and the fear and the harsh judgment I held myself to. I can leave the keeping of my soul in My Savior’s hand who loves me totally. 

I am new.

I have struggled most of my life with feeling like a failure. With never being good enough. With being ‘a joke’ . Perhaps, being a typical middle child, I never thought I was taken seriously or listened to. I embraced the concept that I could never have a good idea. Or measure up to expectations. That I was a loose cannon ball and everyone was using their arsenal of technics to keep me from misfiring. And so I grew up with a very undecided mind of who I was. I had no idea what I wanted to do in life. “Wishy washy. Wild child.” From saving babies in foreign countries to being a veterinary, I swung into any new thought with abandon. I had almost no self esteem. Desperate for acceptance, I agreed with nearly everyone and could scarcely form even the smallest decisions on my own. Which made me feel more unstable then ever. 

Over the past years….the question still haunts me. Who Am I?

In the moments of “Aw. Yes!” When I see character traits of my Kierra…of my Kobe …my Steve…and my Heavenly Father. ….

And it is So Genuine THEM ,

 I realize again that I am me. I am unique. Genuine. Created by God with a specific purpose and DNA  that is truly me.  

(And my friend, YOU are YOU. Unique. Loved  :) 

Perhaps it will be a life long struggle. Who I am today is not who I may be in 10 years for now. 

But although  our past will always be part of us here on earth, it does not need to define us. 

I chose to believe the strongest, simplest, truth. 

I AM A CHILD OF GOD.

A daughter of  the King. 

Loved by Jesus. 

I choose to embrace the freedom and grace of a new identity. To truly believe the things in the past cannot mess with my mind and make me a life long failure. 

It’s so much easier to say then to actually embrace and  believe. I need to choose over and over to rein my thoughts in and come back to TRUTH. And sometimes I get all caught up in those ‘failure, self achieving ‘ web of lies all over again.

But today, my friend, live like a Child dearly loved by the King.

Let yourself feel His love.

His delight.

Exactly where you are…

In the messy 

Or the barren

The spartan 

Or the full.

The Searching.

Or the finding.

  
You are held and loved.

1

A Hand To Hold

Two years ago

On the way home

From a long hospital stay

  
Sometimes he still begs

For someone 

To sit beside him

In the back seat.
Sometimes I reach back

Far and uncomfy

While I drive

And touch his foot

Or hold his hand
And he squeezes tight

And he is silent
Because 

sometimes

We 

Just

Need

A

Hand

To

Hold.

4

He Knows What He’s Doing

 Remember when your hope is lost and faith is shaken

Remember when you wonder if you’re going to make it.

There’s a hand stretched out through your deepest doubt.

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We can’t pretend to see the ending

Or what’s coming up ahead

Don’t know the story of tomorrow

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But we can stay close to the One who knows.

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We can trust our God

He knows what He’s doing.

Though it might hurt now

We won’t be ruined.

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He’s holding onto you and me

And He’s never going to leave.He is with us.He is with us.

Always. ALWAYS.

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There is purpose

There is meaning

In everything

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We surrender to His leading

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He wants nothing more than to have us close.

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Our faith is sealed

Our hope is real.

Come what may

We’re not afraid.

He is with us!

Always!

-song from the album Love and The Outcome

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Somehow when one sees the giant sculpting of our Creator; one knows without a shadow of a doubt that He is totally capable of caring for every detail in our lives.

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No matter that we have no idea what breathtaking event awaits around our next corner. He will be there and He really does have a plan.

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Our lives are not just random events strung together.

We are incredibly loved.

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We went to Glacier and for Father’s Day. I’ve been saving up money quite awhile for something special and I couldn’t think of any better way of spending it then giving my wonderful guy a little paid vacation. He has worked so hard and sacrificed so much for us all over the last years.

We stopped beside Going To The Sun Road with Heaven’s Peak in the background for a little family picture.

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I wish we could have actually glimpsed into heaven for awhile but the clouds soon rolled in over the Rockies. We just carried our Wildflower Girl in our hearts and lived in the moment and enjoyed the wonderful clear mountain air scented with pine and glacier water.

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This spot reminded me of what I imagine the Alps  look like. I could picture Peter and Heidi from Heidi herding their sheep, picking wildflowers and eating bread and cheese with swigs of fresh goat milk.

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The spray of clear fresh water would dance over us and Kobe would squeal with delight.

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All I could think as we drove through such incredible VAST beauty was the song, “How Great is Our GOD!!!”

Rest my soul. Rest and worship.

There is no reason to fret about tomorrow. He’s got this.

My mind has been spinning me in circles lately and I am weary of worrying and wondering and waiting and questioning if God is even listening. I’m weary of missing Kierra and not talking about it more and I’m weary of not WANTING to talk about it more. And I’m afraid that everyone will TRY to talk to me about it and I have no idea if i even WANT to talk about it. (I hope no guys have to read this ‘mad woman’ scramble of thoughts. LOL)

Grief is so very contradictory for me. I did not know that feelings of sad and happy, hate and love, can flow so near each other. (Perhaps hate is a bit of a strong word but right now I can’t think of a better one :) I HATE missing Kierra but I LOVE how much I love her. Sadness and happiness intermingle until they become so entangled you can scarcely survive without either one of them. Then comes the moment of fear when you know memories and the life that was yours  is slipping away and a new chapter is breaking and you are paranoid  you can’t go back but more paranoid to move forward and totally paranoid to hold still.

And it was in a moment like this that I heard the song play that I typed above. It called my heart to God and His unfailing Heart of Love. Answers do not need to come in tidy packages with a specific map to show the way. They come by simply trusting. And moving one step forward at a time. Knowing that God will most likely surprise you with more joy and heartache then you ever imagined. And knowing it will totally be worth it. Because He has an absolute GLORIOUS plan in mind! and He will NOT RUIN His children!

0

23 Questions To Ask Your Child

Sometimes I wonder what is going on in my three year old’s brain. I’ve never had a three year old that can actually tell me what they are thinking.
As close as my connection to Kierra was (aw. I still don’t like that was word.) I was usually guessing when it came to what she actually thought of me. Her snuggles and brushes of lips on my cheek and little purrs let me know she loved me. Very much. But she could never let me know in English language. We have alot of catching up to do someday!

I read a book to Kobe the other day that made me so upset I nearly threw if across the room but since I expect more of him then that, I better hold myself to the same standards. It was a lovely illustrated older hardcover explaining how God loves you. Normally I would have loved it except this is a bit like it read….
“How do you know God loves you?
He gave you two strong legs to run.
He gave you hands to help your mommy.”
Ditto ditto ….more of the same through the whole book. It made me very upset! Because if God did not give you the ability to run, does that mean He doesn’t love you? Most defiantly NOT!! He loves you exactly the way He made you.
And that got me to thinking along the more grownup thoughts of how we explain Gods love to our children. When they are very young I think Gods love is shown through us primarily.

Acceptance. Patience. Affirmation. Direction. Consequences. Hugs and kisses. Time.

Kierra’s last physical therapist was a mommy of two darling boys. Recently she posted these questions to ask to your child. I thought they were totally worth sharing! I was amazed at Kobe’s answers and it gave me a clearer view of how he views me. His view of me right now will effect his view  of God someday!

So here they are….all 23 and remember…no prompting your child on right or wrong answers;) I did have to reword them a bit by asking in  first person instead of ‘mommy’. And he did get tired of thinking :)

1. What is something mommy always says to you?
2. What makes Mom happy?
3. What names Mom sad?
4. How does Mom make you laugh?
5. What was your mom like as a child?
6. How old is your mom?
7. How tall is your mom?
8. What is her favorite thing to do?
9. What does your mom do when you’re not around?
10. If your mom becomes famous what will it be for?
11. What is your mom really good at?
12. What is your mom not really good at?
13. What does your mom do for a job?
14. What’s your mom’s favorite food?
15. What makes you proud of your mom?
16. If your mom were a character who would she be?
17. What do you and your mom do together?
18. How are you and your mom the same?
19. How are you and your mom different?
20. How do you know your mom loves you?
21. What does your mom like most about  your dad?
22. Where is your moms favorite place to go?
23. How old was your mom when you were born?

Just as these answers are not right or wrong…(its all about a child’s perspective) so our love for our children will not all look the same. Our children are individual little people who will not tolerate being put in a tidy box. At least most of them won’t:)

Just as God has given them different personalities He has also blessed some with health and others struggle all their life to reach out and hold your hand.

God loves them equally the same. He loves us exactly where we are as well. He doesn’t love us BECAUSE we can run and play. Not because we are talented or wealthy. He loves us simply because He is our Father and we are His child.

I discovered Kobe feels loved when I talk to him and play with him. That he thinks my favorite thing to do is work. And that my favorite place to go is Florida. My favorite food is even salad.

So here’s to playing, listening, and talking more. Here’s to showing him God’s love cannot be earned or handed out as a specialty club card for certain individuals. It’s a free gift with no favorites because everyone is the favorite child.

Here’s to thanking God for the blessings of speech and health and suntanned cheeks and sky blue eyes.
A

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childhood of simple joys, wishful thinking, and still picking flowers for Kierra

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