Friday, December 15, 2017

Saint Lucia Buns


If I were a TRUE food blogger, things would look a little bit different around here. Firstly, I would actually be posting about food (minor detail) and, secondly, I would be providing you seasonal recipes PRIOR to pertinent holidays to help you welcome said special day with greater preparedness. But since this has morphed into what my husband tells me is most definitely a “mom blog,” I suppose it is more fitting that I am posting this recipe AFTER the holiday has already passed, because us moms, well, don’t we always feel about three steps behind? But it’s all a matter of perspective! Consider yourselves 363 days ahead of schedule for NEXT year (you’re welcome) and don’t forget to check back about ten days into December 2018 to make sure you have all the essential ingredients for a traditional Saint Lucia Bun.

If American Girls were any part of your childhood, the mention of Saint Lucia might ring a bell in a distant memory. Blast to the past along with me and recall, Kirsten, the blond-haired American Girl doll who immigrated to from Sweden. I loved all the books about Kirsten but it’s “Kirsten’s Surprise” that we are going to focus on today. It’s in the pages of this book that Kirsten, as the oldest daughter in her household, rises in the wee hours of the morning on Saint Lucia Day. Wearing white and adorned with a wreath of candles on her head, she awakens each of her family members by delivering Saint Lucia buns and coffee to each of their beds. Thanks to Kirsten, every little girl who has ever lived has dreamed of dressing as Saint Lucia and delivering buns ever since.

I consider myself one of the lucky kids. My parents didn’t often splurge on trending toys, but for whatever reason, they did eventually break down and buy my sister and I each an American Girl doll after years of pleading.  I’m sure this is where I first learned about Saint Lucia.

Saint Lucia Day, also known as the Feast of Saint Lucia, falls on December 13th and commemorates a 3rd-century martyr who, according to legend, supplied food to Christians who had taken refuge in the catacombs. She is believed to have worn a white dress and a wreath of candles on her head to light her way, freeing her arms to carry as much food as they could hold. Calendar reform has since shifted things slightly, but the holiday once fell upon Winter Solstice, the shortest and therefore darkest day of the year. The holiday was often referred to as the “Festival of Light,” representing Christ’s coming to earth as our light. On Saint Lucia Day, girls would honor tradition by dressing in white light Saint Lucia and processing together carrying plates of Saint Lucia Buns and cookies, portraying this “bringing of the light of Christ” to a dark world.

Alright. Enough with the history lesson. Back to my sister and me. She sister was gifted the Kirsten doll (I had a special affinity toward Samantha, the better one, obviously) but I read the books about both all the same.  Over time, my sister and I collected quite the set up for our dolls – clothing (much of it hand-sewn by my mom!), a table and chairs, and a homemade four-poster bed, courtesy of my dad’s woodworking skills. At some point, we also acquired the American Girl Cookbook. It was filled with recipes and pictures of all the dishes mentioned in the books, each with some sort of historical backstory. I guess you could say I was always destined to be a foodie since a cookbook like this excited me to no end, even at the ripe young age of nine years old.

The recipe for Saint Lucia Buns was in that cookbook I received over two decades ago. I never made them but seeing that recipe must have planted a seed in my subconscious. Fast forward to last year when my eight-year-old got her hands on the Kirsten book series. Suddenly that seed sprouted to fruition and I found myself in the kitchen making Saint Lucia Buns so my eldest could emulate Kirsten and dress up as Saint Lucia on Saint Lucia Day, fulfilling the dream she and every girl who had gone before her shared. Donning a white dress, wearing a “wreath” and delivering homemade buns by candlelight in the wee hours of the morn was a hit for my daughter, as well as for every other member of the family (who are we to argue with warm carbs??) And so, despite our lack of Swedish heritage, a new tradition was born.

The making of the buns is straight forward, particularly if you have a Kitchen Aid mixer with a dough hook that does most of the messy work for you. The recipe comes together much faster if you actually have yeast on your person and you don’t have to take a 90-minute break wandering, sans kids, through the aisles of Target in search of some. Such additional steps typically result in excessive “accidental expenditures” on essentials like adorable Christmas mugs and journals because “they make great stocking stuffers.” But I digress.

The original recipe had you measuring the ingredients by weight (how European!) but since most home cooks do not own a kitchen scale, I did some math and some guessing and came up with a version that is American-kitchen-friendly.  

Lastly, since I’m a “mom blogger,” not a REAL food blogger, I will warn you that some of my descriptions might come across as, let’s say, less than scientific. I intend for this recipe to be something you can make WITH your kids which is why I consider phrases like “We’re looking for snakes here, not slugs” to be a perfectly acceptable descriptor for helping them visualize how thin they should be rolling their ropes of dough before shaping them. I made the dough all the way through the first rise before the kids came home from school and then they joined me for the remainder of the steps.

Even if you don’t plan to dress as Saint Lucia, these rolls make a delicious sweet bun to accompany your coffee. Feel free to serve them as a special dinner roll on Christmas or any other fancy occasion. They freeze well and are well served warm. Happy Saint Lucia Day…363 days in advance!


Saint Lucia Buns
(adapted from the New York Times)

12 Tablespoons (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted
2 ½ cups lukewarm milk (I warm mine in microwave for ~1 minute)
2 packages dry active yeast (or 4 ½ teaspoons)
¾ teaspoon saffron
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon table salt
7 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten
Black raisins, for garnish

In a glass measuring cup or medium-sized bowl, combine melted butter and warm milk. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, dissolve the yeast in a small amount of the butter and milk mixture. Once dissolved, add remainder of the butter and milk mixture. Grind saffron in a mortar and pestle if you have one, or by crumbling with your fingertips over the butter, milk and yeast mixture. Add to butter/milk/yeast mixture along with sugar and salt and whisk well.

Add flour, a few cups at a time, beating with the dough hook of your mixer until a soft dough forms. Continue to beat dough with the mixer for about 5 minutes, adding a small amount of flour at a time, as necessary, to keep dough from sticking. Alternatively, if no mixer is available, add flour using a wooden spoon and then knead by hand for about 10 minutes once a soft dough forms. Return dough to bowl.

Cover bowl with a tea towel and allow the dough to rise in warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes to one hour. (I usually turn on my oven and leave the door open to allow some of the heat to escape. After a few minutes, I turn the oven off. Voila! The oven top has become a cozy spot where the dough can rise).

Now it’s time to gather the offspring and let them get in on the fun. Taking mandarin orange-sized lumps of dough, roll each into a long rope (here is where you tell them “we’re looking for snakes here, not slugs”), about the circumference of your finger. Form the rope into the shape of an “S” and then continue to curl each end toward the center until they form two pinwheels (see picture). When they rise a second time, the buns uncurl some which is why it’s important to roll out thinner ropes. Place shaped buns onto a greased cookie sheet, cover with a towel and let rise in your cozy place for another 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Brush each bun with beaten egg and poke a raisin into the center of each pinwheel. Bake buns for 12-15 minutes until golden. Eat warm.

Makes about 2 dozen buns

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Unconventional Advent


I’m thinking about our lists this time of year, each a mile long. So many asks, so much to purchase, print, send, wrap, and bake. And amidst all this rush, in this season of Advent, we are encouraged to wait expectantly with great anticipation, to ponder the coming and birth of our Savior. Am I, surrounded by all this busyness and noise, the only one finding it harder and harder to do this?

This has led me to ponder. Life is short and we are never promised tomorrow. So what would it look like for me to live boldly and do something radical? What would it look like if I approached the Christmas season with a blank slate and built our traditions from the ground up? What would the season hold for us? Which practices would stay? Which ones would go? It’s been a challenging exercise for me to think through.

I think Christmas time would be a lot more about connection with those I love than about gestures and tangibles. There would be long meals with friends and family gathered around, sharing their souls as the fire burns low. There would be an obscene number of candles and probing conversation questions that facilitate discussions beyond the superficial. The only gifts to speak of would be the literal presence of the guests in our home, the words of affirmation shared around the table, and maybe “consumables” contributed toward the making of a great meal. There would be much music and laughter and encouragement but there would be space at the table for heartache and tears too. The vulnerability in the air would be as palpable as the scent of the evergreens on the table.

December would also hold for me quiet mornings alone with coffee and my Bible in front of the tree. There would be puzzles poured over and full glasses of wine. There would be lots of time to write and think and pray my way through the Advent season. There would be peppermint ice cream dripping with hot fudge. There would be crackling sounds of the fire as the kids acted out the Christmas story with their tiny nativities. There would be nighttime runs after dark through the neighborhood to admire the abounding Christmas light displays, carols blaring in my headphones and crisp fall air filling my lungs.

As long as time allowed and the family continued to desire them, I would carry on some of our cherished traditions - like visiting “Candy Cane Lane” in Seattle, filling shoes on Saint Nicholas Day, and making Saint Lucia Buns for our eldest, adorned in white, to deliver to our room before sunrise on Saint Lucia day.

On Christmas morning, there would be a small handful of gifts under the tree – Legos to build in the afternoon, maybe a family game to play together or a new book for me to snuggle up and read followed by a nap. There would be cinnamon rolls for breakfast and a delicious dinner later on that could easily be made ahead. The day would be simple yet thrilling.

There would be negligible shopping, little stress, minimal expectation and no judgement. I would have permission to bow out of gift exchanges without feeling like a heel. I wouldn’t be comparing myself to those around me, making sure I was keeping up with the Jones’. I wouldn’t be striving unceasingly for unachievable perfection.

Is what I’m envisioning even achievable? Maybe not entirely. But I do think I could make a valiant effort toward it. What if, instead of doing things “because it’s what we always do” or because we “have to,” I began by asking myself two key questions before fulfilling an obligation or taking on an endeavor or attending an event: “Is this essential for the well-being of me or my immediate family?” and “Does it bring me joy?” If the answer to either of these questions is no, then that event or obligation is removed from the list. I have wonder if I might find that the items on my long list of “obligations” aren’t really obligations after all.

If writing and sending out a Christmas letter is giving me angst, can I give myself permission to skip it this year? Do I need to make five different kinds of holiday goodies? Or even two or three? These things are all well and good when I’m in a place where I can pull them off, but if they are draining my energy and tugging me away from stillness and time with my Savior, are they really worth it? I would argue certainly no.

What would it look like if you and I gave ourselves permission to do things differently? Not with the green scowling face of the Grinch or the darkly-shadowed “Bah Humbug” of Scrooge, but out of sheer protection for our souls. Some of us are crumbling in this culture that is ever-pushing for bigger and better and busier. Some of us simply can’t live another day carrying the weight of all the pressures we have allowed to burden us.

So I ask this of myself: Do I have the courage to live boldly in this season and beyond? To be unconventional in a season where my heart is crying out for care and for quiet and for rest? Am I willing to set boundaries and say “no?” Can I let go of some of the things I was hoping to accomplish in order to prioritize the things my soul needs to thrive?

I know many of us are weary and tired with longing in this season toted for it's hope and comfort and joy. You may feel like you are "missing" it, like the days are passing, full of hustle and bustle and rushing. If you keep waiting for that moment of quiet reflection and space to ponder to fall into your lap, I hate to tell you, but it won’t. Our society makes that nearly impossible. If what you need is permission to say the hard no to something that is wearing down your soul and keeping you from resting at the feet of Jesus in this season of Advent, permission granted my friend! When considering what you will and won't partake in this month, I encourage you to ask yourself these questions: “Is this essential for the well-being of me or my immediate family?” and “Does it bring me joy?” If your answer to either is no, perhaps you should reconsider. 

I will end with the words of this beautiful carol, my prayer this Christmas. I pray that you will find, create, or make the space to pause and await the coming of our Savior in the days to come! 

“Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel's strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.”

Monday, November 13, 2017

I'm not the "Room Mom"



As it turns out, I’m not the “Room Mom” or the “PTSA Mom” or the “Classroom Party Planner Mom” or the “Art Docent Mom” or “Volunteer Mom.” Shocker, I know.

In fact, you will rarely find me on the grounds of the elementary school outside of the regular drop off and pick up hours. I don’t do the “extras” like Multi-Cultural Night or Bingo Night. And the two times the kids managed to convince me to take them to a “Family Movie Night” in the school gym, someone probably should have drugged me first. I mean, sometimes I wonder if it would be easiest to just slap a “Doesn’t-Contribute-To-Anything-School-Related Mom” sticker across my chest and call it a day.

At least, this is what the voices in my head try to tell me. They are constantly informing me I’m not doing enough, not giving enough, not participating enough, that, plain and simple I’m just not enough. I frequently wrestle with a high level of guilt over the, ahem, minimal enjoyment I find in spending time in the kids’ classrooms. I LOVE LOVE LOVE my kids and I LOVE LOVE LOVE their teachers and I also LOVE IT when those two groups can be together in the same room without me.

Ugh. I feel icky all over just typing that. I mean, shouldn’t I enjoy volunteering at school? Shouldn’t I be on the PTSA? The fact that I’m not makes me feel like a low mom on the totem pole.  

Especially when I see “That Mom,” the one who is always, always at in the walking the halls. The front office staff know her by first name. She is running an activity table at every class party. She is present on every field trip. She volunteers in the classroom not once but twice every week (and I thought twice a year sounded overwhelming…) That Mom, she makes me feel utterly inadequate. She puts me to shame. She always seems so genuinely happy to be there at school. Maybe she is putting up a front – I will probably never know for sure - or maybe, could it be, that being in the classroom really is her jam?

Can you relate? Do you also find yourself threatened by That Mom? Maybe she isn’t the one who is heavily involved at school. Maybe instead she’s the Super Organized One, or the Well-Dressed One, or the One-Who-Makes-Everything-From-Scratch. She may look different to each of us from the outside, but the common theme she carries is this: That Mom is strongest where you are most vulnerable. She’s the one that causes you to question your contribution.

A couple weeks ago, I let my insecurities get the best of me; I decided I wasn’t going to let That Mom show me up at school anymore. I resolved to attend all three of my kids’ Halloween celebrations…IN THE SAME DAY. All in the span of 2 ½ hours. The voices in my head told me I would be a bad mom if I didn’t.

“It will be fun,” I charged.

“You’re just being ridiculous.”

“Class parties are great!”

As it turned out, my first assessment was correct: being around fifty-some sugar-high and costumed 4 to 8-year-olds actually wasn’t my idea of a good time. By the day’s end, I was exhausted, cranky and twitching with anxiety and had exactly nothing left to give to my kiddos during family time at home later that night.

It ended up being a lose-lose situation for everyone involved. I was no help to the teachers in the classrooms (I had to arrive late to each party to make it to all three), I found myself annoyed at my kids for wanting me there, annoyed at myself that I didn’t want to be there and then annoyed even further at myself for showing up when I knew I didn’t want to be there. This was NOT the sense of accomplishment I had expected to feel after checking an item off my list of “shoulds.”

Thanks to my overactive guilt complex, I had “saved face” and looked good (though that latter part is questionable as I was quite harried at the end of it) by making an appearance in my kids’ classrooms, but all at the expense of my sanity. And my mothering for the rest of the day.

My only obvious conclusion was this:

IT IS JUST NOT WORTH IT FOR ME.

By no means am I trying to diatribe and encourage parents to abandon their volunteer roles in herds. Absolutely not. (Goodness knows teachers sure need those of you for whom volunteering in class is your gifting!!) Rather, my purpose is to encourage those mamas to think twice who, like me, say “yes” due to a myriad of reasons - guilt, external appearances or simply because they felt they “should.”

So maybe you aren’t the Room Mom, the PTSA Mom, the Classroom Party Planner Mom, the Art Docent Mom or the Volunteer Mom. Those roles may not be your God-given jam. But you know what? I’m willing to bet there are a whole heck of a lot of mom hats that you DO wear.

Maybe you are the Appointment Mom, the one who shuttles a struggling child to professional after professional in search of both answers and then later, solutions.

Maybe you are the Empathetic Mom, the one who “gets it” because she’s been there too and so patiently snuggles the child wrought with anxiety into the wee morning hours.

Maybe you are the Mama Bear Mom, the mom who calls the school office, makes appointments to speak with the principal, meets with the teachers, and isn’t afraid to speak bold, hard truth to fight for and protect her offspring. 

Maybe you are the Perceptive Mom, the one in tune with nuances others around might overlook, the one who can see what’s happening beneath the surface.

Maybe you are the Homemade Mom, the one who makes most meals from scratch because it’s what you love to do.

Maybe you are the Crazy Tradition Mom who loves to celebrate everything, the mom who loves to create thematic meals or crafts to accompany each holiday.

Maybe you are the Working Mom, in a paid position, bringing home the paycheck to make ends meet. Or maybe you are the Working Mom because you are good at what you do and it’s where you come alive.

Maybe you are the Stay-At-Home Mom, working harder than you’ve ever worked, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Maybe you are the Kids in the Kitchen Mom who encourages her offspring to chop and mix and dice and “help” even if it makes things take twice as long and the kitchen twice as messy because cooking is a life skill you are passionate about passing on.

Maybe you are the Sports Mom, the one at every practice, every try-out and every game. You are your kids’ biggest fan and always the one screaming the loudest.

Maybe you are the Play-Pretend Mom who dresses up and reenacts fairytales all the live long day.

Maybe you are the Homeschool Mom, the one who toils late into the evening writing lesson plans and researching curriculum options to give your children an education tailored just to them.

Whatever kind of mom you are, not one of us is the same. It can be so very tempting to look over at the mom next door and immediately feel inadequate because your list of strengths doesn’t match hers. It is easy to fall victim to a list of “shoulds” or allow oneself to feel threatened by the talents of another. But I am convinced that when our amazing and unique mothering skill sets and giftings are lived into and used to their fullest, the patchwork masterpiece that comes together as a result is absolutely beautiful the eyes of our Creator.

So let’s stop measuring ourselves against “That Mom.” Let’s stop allowing her to influence our paths and the way we spend our time. What she excels at is what she excels at. You have your own set of amazing gifts. Do not say yes to keep up with her or because you feel guilt or shame. Your “yeses” and “nos” are not what determines your worth. Your worth comes from than the one seated above on the heavenly throne. He made us all infinitely unique and you are just the mom for your squad.


Be encouraged. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Relentless Life, Relentless Love


Life is so relentless sometimes, isn’t it? This is certainly one of those weeks where the saying “When it rains, it pours” seems especially poignant.

Our dishwasher began leaking a few weeks back. After much tinkering and tweaking, my husband and father-in-law thought they had it fixed but then, two weeks ago, it failed again. And so, since October 6th, I have been washing all dishes by hand.

I haven’t figured out my new rhythm with the additional time required to complete this chore. My sink is now rarely empty; dirty dishes make a constant companion. My counter tops and even my oven are covered with drying dishes at all times. Not having a dishwasher is truly a “first world problem” but it has wrinkled my routine nonetheless. The kids are getting to bed late every night because dinner clean up now takes twice as long. I am keenly aware of the use of every dish, every spatula, mentally tracking whether both a fork and spoon were truly required for the meals’ consumption. My kids look at me in bewilderment as I catch myself raging that they would use separate cup for first water and then milk.

“You already HAVE a cup,” I wail, envisioning the pile of dishes to be hand-washed, tripling by the second. They have no concept of conservation, recycling, reuse when it comes to the plates and cups.

Over the past fifteen days (not that anyone was counting), I *almost* came to terms with my dishwasher-less state. Plunging my hands into a sink of warm bubbles after a good meal was almost therapeutic. On some days, I would put a show on my phone and position it perfectly in the window gutter before me. I would settle in, make myself comfortable and wash those dishes as if it were second nature. On other days, I would crank my Pandora station loudly and sing along and dance as I scrubbed. Always, I would think of my dear pastor’s wife who homeschooled and raised 3 children into adulthood without ever having a dishwasher. She’s a saint, that woman! Each day, as I stood there in front of the sink, I recalled a piece of wisdom she shared with me:

“No one bothers you when you are doing the dishes!”

And it’s true! Filling the sink after dinner quickly became like a fast-pass to alone time for me. My family knew if they were anywhere in the near vicinity, I would put them to work. So, they made themselves scarce. For a few days, I almost welcomed the dish-washing process simply because of the quiet it guaranteed me. But after about the 53rd time doing the dishes, I was over the novelty.

It was then that we discovered a leak in our roof. The loud, echoing DRIP-DRIP-DRIP coming from the family room, magnified by the metal of our fireplace insert, was pretty hard to miss (though certainly we did try). The rain was pouring down outside, and we wondered if it would soon be pouring inside as well. Sigh. Neither of us were really in the mood for another household malfunction. The night before, the light in the dining room had also quit working and if there was such thing as an “expiration date” for an entire house, it was beginning to look like it was RIGHT THEN for us.

With the number of items on our “To-Fix” list growing ever-longer, I felt the world closing in on me. Money is tighter than it's ever been and all I could see were dollar signs spinning around me as each piece of our home bit the dust. But we had to do something. Three people had already taken a stab at our dishwasher and declared the issue beyond their area of DIY expertise, so I decided to pull out the big guns. I phoned a repairman who quickly determined that the dishwasher’s electrical control panel was done-for and its replacement would cost just as much as a new machine.

“Ok,” I thought, “at least now we have our answer and can move forward.”

Serenaded by the DRIP-DRIP-DRIP of our friendly roof leak, I called Graham at work to tell him the bad news and headed upstairs to fold a load of laundry. As I reached into the dryer, I was surprised when my hand met sopping wet clothing. “That’s odd,” I thought, “I know I turned this thing on.” I checked the lint trap. Its contents were minimal and definitely not the cause of the failed dry cycle.  

“You have got to be kidding me!” I exclaimed, with Jack as my audience.

I took a deep breath and went back to face the dryer. Slowly and with great precision this time, I punched each button to restart the cycle.

SILENCE.

Again, I repeated the process.

SILENCE.

The machine powered on just fine. It changed to the proper setting without issue. But whenever I pressed the start button, nothing happened.

Seriously?! This absolutely cannot be. I grabbed my phone and shot Graham a text: “Ummm….soooo….the dryer just quit working.” My phone rang immediately.

“Crap,” said the voice on the end of the line. “Maybe we should pray. This could be a spiritual attack.”

Graham proceeded to tell me there was an alarm going off inside the Honda that he could not get to turn off. Of course there was! It was almost laughable. Totally overwhelmed and bewildered, we prayed over our chaos. We prayed for God’s hand of protection over our family and our house (!!) and for wisdom as we determined which issue to take on first. After we finished praying, Graham sarcastically quipped that I should just give him a call when the fridge gave out. And then we hung up.

Later that evening as I put Isla to bed, her prayer made me grin. With the innocence of a child she queried, “Dear God, why is everything in our house breaking? Can you puh-leeze make it stop before the house falls down? Amen.”

That’s honestly kind of how I feel too. It hasn't been an easy week to begin with. In fact, these home failures felt like merely the icing on the “cake” of the emotional roller coaster we’d already been facing. We’ve been stressed and tense. Our family is going through a lot right now and the frustrations I've outlined are just the challenges that are externally apparent at present. Life feels so heavy and complicated.

I’m still at a loss. I am baffled by the chaos, confused by the unabating nature of the waves careening our way. But at the same time, I feel a sense of peace. I have been reminded in all sorts of little ways, that our God is mighty, and He is present even in all of this.

I have also been so touched by the way He uses community. Multiple friends offered to do my laundry (which, by the way, I said yes to and it was delivered to me, dried and folded this morning). Another friend came and dropped off a bottle of wine. I asked my parents to pray for us and my dad was ready to change his plans for the weekend and come give us a hand. A neighbor offered up the use of his tall ladder for closer examination of our roof. An SOS text to a close-knit group of women resulted in all the encouraging, empathetic and “We’ve got your back, Sister” uplifting texts that I needed.

And then, get this you guys – Graham’s dear college friend flew in for a visit last night, arriving right in the middle of all our drama. He took one look at our dryer and exclaimed that he had the exact same one at home AND it just so happened that he took the whole thing apart last month and knew the innards well. Ten minutes later, the two guys had the dryer back off, the problematic part identified, and a new one ordered on Amazon. And, wouldn’t you believe it, the part that failed was the exact same part that failed on this friend’s dryer last month. Coincidence? I think not.

(A picture of true friendship right here if there ever was one!)

Today the dust has settled some. I'm a little less emotional. The guys did some "male bonding" and purchased and installed a new dishwasher that is humming as I type. We think we know what is wrong with the roof. And the boys can fix the dryer when the part arrives tomorrow. Meanwhile, I am struck by the fact that yes, absolutely, this life is relentless. But even more is the love of our Heavenly Father relentless. What a beautiful thought! His pursuit of me, His pursuit of my family, His pursuit of you is never-ending. He desires for us to draw near at all times, when things are going well and when things are hard. He cares about even the little things. So my prayer today for all of us is this:

May we not grow faint of heart and lose hope when faced with the trials of this world. Instead, may we experience His lavish love and provision, sometimes in the most unexpectedly beautiful ways. Amen?  

Monday, October 2, 2017

Our cover and shield


Hurting people hurt people.

There are times when words just don’t seem like enough, but they are all we have to offer.
In the wake of the tragedy of events that occurred in Las Vegas last night, my heart is heavy. I am not typically one to worry much when I pass off my children outside my care. But today’s drop offs were hard. I am torn up by the brokenness of this world. I can’t help but ask questions like “Why?” What brings a person to inflict such devastation on the lives of others.

I read the words of Psalm 3 this morning. It is a Psalm of David, written when he fled from Absalom, his own son, who was trying to hurt him:

“Lord, how many are my foes!
    How many rise up against me!
Many are saying of me,
    “God will not deliver him.”

But you are a shield around me, O Lord;
     you bestow glory on me and lift my head high.
I call out to the Lord,
    and he answers me from his holy mountain.

I lie down and sleep;
    I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.
I will not fear though tens of thousands
    assail me on every side.

Arise, Lord!
    Deliver me, my God!
Strike all my enemies on the jaw;
    break the teeth of the wicked.

From the Lord comes deliverance.
    May your blessing be on your people.”

But you are a shield around me, O LORD.

I long to offer insight and comfort but today the words escape me. So, I will simply echo what is written in Psalm 3. When the things of this world surround and overwhelm us, let us always remember Christ is our protector. His covering over us is so great, we can lie down and not just take refuge, but sleep, the ultimate symbol of peace and rest. We need not cower in fear and trembling but can arise again, comforted and restored, sustained in Christ our Savior.


Peace, my Friends.