Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wilder seas
Where storms will show Your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.

We ask you to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push back the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.

-Sir Francis Drake

Saturday, July 6, 2013


Colin is 7 years old today.

There is something special about that boy.

His blue eyes and shock of blond hair have always made him stand out in our family of brown hair and brown eyes.

He radiates kindness, and is a willing and gentle friend to anyone, regardless of gender or age. He is the neutral party in the middle of the family, playing Legos and army with Asher or house and "baby" with Eva. He has a gift of overlooking people's annoying characteristics and just enjoys hanging out with them.

He is a natural at any sport he tries, but he also has the determination and perseverance to practice and become better. He has spent hours practicing dribbling a basketball, and is always wanting to practice his baseball skills.

He loves to look for ways to help others. In the winter, he will get all bundled up after it snows and go out to shovel the steps and driveways of our neighbors. A few weeks ago he spent several hours organizing the garage for Nick (no one had asked him to), and he often jumps in and helps the other kids with their chores.

I feel so lucky to be his mom. He's one of those kids where you feel like he just "happened" to turn out to be an amazing person, and I can't take any credit for it. His thoughtfulness, strength and dependability point ahead to something great.

I love you, Colin! Happy birthday!

Sunday, May 19, 2013


My sweet oldest boy Asher.

Every year on your birthday, I remember what it was like on the day you came into this world. It had been a long night of labor, and as I watched the sun rise that morning, I remember feeling as if you would NEVER arrive.

Your dad and I were young and still freshly in love; married for only 10 months. We were still learning each other's habits and rhythms, and now we were going to be parents. Everything seemed to be happening so quickly, but such major life changes have often pulled us together.

When you arrived, you were so indescribably beautiful to me. Your tiny bony body and purplish wet skin made you look as fragile as a baby bird, and the feeling of you laying on my heart was unlike anything I'd ever felt before.

I was in love in a fierce, unexplainable way. I did not choose to love you, I simply loved you in the way I breathe without realizing or thinking about it. You are part of me.

You are eight years old today, and have grown into a tall, lean boy with sparkling brown eyes and mischievous smile. You are so smart, and I imagine your brain looks like a thousand gears constantly turning, constantly creating, always learning and exploring and questioning. You are a leader, but you also have a heart for the underdog. You love to read and often lose yourself in a good book for an hour or two (you get that from me). You are really good at telling jokes. You're losing some teeth. You can be really bossy to your brothers and sister, but I'm pretty sure you get that from me, too.

I know I am hard on you sometimes, and I realize that I have high expectations for you, but I hope that in some way even that is an expression of my love.

May 18th was one of the best days of my life and I am so proud to be your mom.


Saturday, February 9, 2013


My girl turns four years old today.

I find myself frustrated at her tears and her whining, then I melt when she kisses me on the cheek with the sweetest kiss in recorded history.

I roll my eyes at her obsession with all things princess (dear God in heaven, why?!), then can't help getting out my camera to record the adorable tea parties she sets up on a daily basis in her bedroom. (A koala with pink polka dot underwear on its head sitting next to a Rapunzel doll? Yes. Batman arriving at the party in a convertible with the Joker in the back seat? Yes. Did I mention that the Joker was carrying a pink purse?)

She notices small bits of beauty. They catch her eye as I try to rush her along, and she slows me down so I can delight in the moment with her.  A crescent moon becomes "A slice of onion floating in the sky."

She is quick to evaluate things and state her opinion with all the vigor of a TV reality show judge:
Someone has morning breath? "Ug! Something smells like a RACCOON in here!"

Tasting a dinner roll? "I can't eat this. It tastes like paint!"

First sip of fruit punch at her cousin's preschool? "This tastes like BEER!"

She spins around the house in sparkly princess gowns and little girl heels, and I can't relate.

When I was a girl, I loved getting dirty in the great outdoors. I'd dig holes, build forts, play catch, ride my bike. I was inspired by strong heroines who saved the day, not pretty princesses dancing and drinking tea. More Katniss Everdeen, less Cinderella.

Somehow my own view of womanhood has caused me to belittle the way my daughter sees the world. I label her love of femininity as shallow or foolish. I want her to be strong and brave and independent, and I think I am afraid that as a stereotypical princess-y girl she will be obsessed with appearance and superficiality. That she will not be attracted to the poor, sick or unlovely. That I won't be able to relate to her.

I recently read a book that splashed cold water in my face. I suddenly realized that Eva is unique and beautiful and her way of seeing the world is valuable. For me to roll my eyes or belittle that is to say that only my personal opinion of womanhood has value. If beautiful dresses and elegant little tea parties and princesses bring my daughter joy, who am I to try to change that?

I am doing my best to bite my tongue and truly celebrate Eva and her interests. My plans for an adorable "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" birthday party acquiesced to her desire for a princess party. I think you would be proud of me if you saw the cake and invitations she picked out. I was proud of myself as I filled my shopping cart with tiaras and wands and pink and purple balloons.

This may seem silly, but it was an important step for me. This princess stage will probably soon pass, but I want to do everything I can to know and value my daughter for who she really is. And if that means I need to wear a tiara, then so be it!

Happy birthday, my sweet girl. Mommy loves you.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Let it Ring

I snuggled with my boys and watched a few video clips the other day to give them a small idea of life in segregated America. Specifically, what life was like for African Americans during this time.

We saw signs that were part of everyday life - hung in businesses and on fences around town. Signs that then were as common as street signs, but today make us draw back in disgust when we see them.

Whites only.
Colored entrance.
Colored riders to the back of the bus.

Pompously sanctioned racism, keeping white people safe and separate.

From what?

We learned about the Little Rock Nine- nine brave teenagers who went to school. And were attacked by angry mobs of crazies. And were forced away from school by the National Guard. And were rebuked by the Governor.

The demeanor of these students was shocking to me. They looked so dignified and strong as they walked towards the school steps. I almost expected to see the frothing mob fall mute in shame in the face of this silent righteousness. But they were blinded by hatred. Their special status and rights were being threatened, and nothing else mattered.

This hate slammed from fire hoses into students. And attacked students with German Shepherds. And arrested peaceful protesters. And mocked and spit and screamed and beat and marginalized and de-humanized.

I couldn't help crying as I held my son on my lap and watched these few moments of history. I cried with shame and anger, but I wanted my boys to see. See what our great country was like, just a few years ago. See what hatred looks like. See what WE are capable of.

"But one hundred years later (after the Emancipation Proclamation), we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition."

Then, I began to hear new words. Words like black brothers and sisters. And white brothers and sisters. And love. And dream.

"But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred."

We saw white people and black people walking together, holding hands and signs with new messages that spoke truth to power. I cried again when we saw a father lifting his son up onto his shoulders to see the peaceful revolution.

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

When the words of Martin Luther King, Jr rang out over the sea of faces, it was almost too much to bear.

"This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"


Thursday, December 27, 2012


Will is my baby. My sweet, sweet boy.

He has many nicknames, which is funny because "Will" seems like a tough name to change up. He's most often affectionately called Wilson, but also answers to Buddy, Wilsonator and occasionally Wilberforce.

He has huge serious eyes, an adorable gap-toothed smile and sparse wispy hair.

He loves to climb and explore, and had broken both an arm and a leg by his first birthday.

He cries whenever anyone leaves the house, even if it's someone he's just met. I'm not sure if it's because he is sad to see them go, or if it's because he wishes he could go with them.

He was the most beautiful and perfect newborn I've ever seen.

Around the time he turned 18 months, I realized that he had far below the average 20 words that a child of his age should be able to say. He could say around 5 words, but mostly said "daddy". I taught him sign language for "please", but left it at that; assuming more words would be coming soon. As time passed, nothing really changed.

He will be 2 next month and can say about 10 words.

He is beginning speech therapy next month, and I'm excited to see the ways it will help him. Will is such a smart boy and understands so much, and I cannot imagine how frustrating it must be to be unable to communicate. It makes me sad that I have to guess at what he wants, how he happened to get hurt, etc.

I was excited this week, because he spontainiously said "Colin"! He has never made the "K" sound before, so this was huge! He also pointed to a picture of Mary holding baby Jesus and said, "Jesus". I don't know where these words randomly come from, but it's wonderful when he can finally shape sounds into meaning.

I am thankful to be the mother of this sweet and adventurous boy. We've shared two years of fun and books and snuggles and dancing around the kitchen to Mumford and Sons...and I can't wait to hear the things he's been thinking about.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


Dead babies.

20 slaughtered babies.

There's nothing I can say about that. I can't even comprehend it.

I'm ashamed to say my first response was relief. Thankfulness that it wasn't my children in those classrooms. I want to push away the horrifying story, gather my babies close and read them books, feed them pb&j sandwiches, watch them make messes, laugh at their funny childish insights, scold them, play games with them, brush their teeth and tuck them into bed.

It makes me cry to think that there is a little town where twenty families have their storybooks put away.

Twenty homes where peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are no longer on the menu.

Twenty childish bedrooms that are achingly clean.

Twenty homes where faces are twisted and tear stained and stomachs ache with grief.

Twenty moms and twenty dads wishing they had some mischief to scold. Or maybe wishing they been more patient.

Twenty games of Candy Land or even Chutes and Ladders that would now somehow be bearable.

Twenty little toothbrushes.

Twenty little empty beds.

I feel rich. And selfish. And so sad.