Friday, February 26, 2016


From the womb of the dawn
came a ray of light.
It shimmered silvery-rose
upon the dark, silhouetted horizon.
¨Wake up!¨ she whispered.
¨It´s a new day, a new time.¨

The light grew brighter and chameleoned 
into coral, red and glad orange.
The fiery ball began to rise with proud protagonism,
while the silver-rose ray of light
slipped quietly, unobtrusively, into the background.

Her short work was done.
Yet she was content.
For I had heard her.
I had seen her promise and understood:
The much-anticipated season of Light
that will crush my Darkness
Starts with noticing...
the simple silver-rose ray.

¨But the way of the right(eous) is like the early morning light.
It shines brighter and brighter until the perfect day.¨ 
Proverbs 4:18

Photo by:  Sian Monument

Monday, February 22, 2016


I have stared at this picture for countless hours since Jenna left us.  It is the last family photo of us captured here on this earth, made priceless the day she died.  Our family seems frozen in time to me here.  When I think of our family, this is still the way I think of us...Five...our perfect number. 

In this photo, the love, the joy, even the hope that is captured here with our beautiful Jenna in the middle seem stopped in time.  It´s as if our ¨family clock¨ stopped that day.  This reminds me of the scene in the movie Fried Green Tomatoes where the old family clock was stopped at the death of the much loved Ruth.  This is apparently a Victorian tradition, done for reasons from respect to superstition  to a symbolic marking of how time stood still when their loved one died and a new period of existence started without time.

Time didn´t really seem to exist or have importance in the first period of time after Jenna died.  It is extremely frustrating and confusing to grieving people in general that life stubbornly seems to march on right in the face of your devastation.  You feel like shouting to the world, ¨Stop!  Don´t you realize I just lost my daughter?!  You can´t go on like this as if nothing ever happened!¨  Very slowly, you have to step back into the world in some ways (even though you may not want to) and even more slowly, you begin to engage in time-related events with others.  But time - and life - have changed forever and your heart and entire life and future are marked to prove it.  There is a clear and definitive before and after.

None of us can describe our family without Jenna.   We are still unsure of how to answer questions about our family when we meet someone new.  It seems both untrue & almost irreverent to say I only have 2 kids...Jenna is still so very real to me!  Yet here on this earth my reality is two.  For now, I tend to answer, ¨I have 3 children, one in heaven and 2 here.¨ I recently asked Jordan how he answers if someone asks about his siblings.  ¨It depends on who it is and how much I think they want to know, ¨ he said. It´s a very difficult position for all of us to be put in.  Jenna was ripped from the anchoring middle place of our family unit, destabilizing us forever.  We are all still struggling to accept this reality.  We are still unsure of who we really are as a family.

It´s inevitable and natural that family changes.  The kids move on, move out, grow up, start independent lives, new families - it happens.  I had already begun to experience that with both girls stateside at university.  But being ripped out?  That is different.  It is violent, traumatic, sad...we are still reeling some days, still adjusting, still struggling with our new number of four... Four!

So many days I look back longingly at our "frozen family."  The family we have known is captured whole in this precious moment.  I can still remember that day - the weather, the sound of laughter, the different positions we stood in, the dear friends we were with and their voices and clicking cameras.  It is stopped in time in my mind yet full of life and the present at the same time.

Although I cannot relive or restore this captured moment except in my mind, I do have this memory  to treasure.  This paradox of the juxtaposition of past and present is a tender reality I hold in trembling hands.  While in some ways still ¨frozen in time¨, thankfully, we are indeed very much alive.

This photo may always capture the essence of our family to us.  It will always be precious and irreplaceable.  It may always feel both past and present to our hearts...both are very much a part of us, infinitely important pieces of who we are.

Family picture by the lovely Becca Brown


Thursday, February 18, 2016


We are really not sure if Jenna can see us or not but 
we often feel like she is a part of the cloud of witnesses cheering us on.

In your moments proud
on your biggest days
when your heart is heavy
yet you rise again
when your courage spurs
others on to good
when you celebrate loudly
or quietly love
when you cross a finish line
at your life events...
I'll be watchin' you.

When you love Him well
when you pour out your heart
when you whisper prayers
or bless with your art
when you fall in love
or you graduate
when you learn something new
or new vision create
when you live victorious
and of course, when you smile...
I'll be watchin' you.

When you write that book
when you dance on that stage
when you kick that goal
or a new nation engage
when you make a new friend
or forgive one that´s old
overcome a weakness
or cover someone´s cold
when you give ´til it hurts
and you love to the end...
I´ll be watchin´you.

When you cry for me
yet persevere
when you wonder and question
 but trust Him to be near 
When you rest in love
and choose to walk forward
when you follow your call
in spite of your sorrow
when you mourn honestly
yet look for the beauty...
I´ll be watchin´ you.

When you change the world
as you live bigger than I
when you blow others away
with a legacy 10 times mine
when you see me in yourself
and it brings a smile
yet you freely live as you
embracing that unique profile 
when you make Him relevant
and bring Him to the unloved...
I´ll be watchin´ you.

When you find ¨the one¨
who´s all you´ve dreamed
when you have your babies
and they look like me :)
when you carve out your life,
live adventures & dreams
when you love your new family
yet honor your old team
When there´s the gift to be together
sharing lessons & laughter...
I´ll be watchin´ you.

When you finish each season
and live each moment
full and rich it stands to reason
you draw closer to me, to all eternity
and when your yearning grows
and your story is told
When your work is done
and the witnesses´ cheer is bold
when you finish your race
and you cross through the veil...
I´ll be watchin´ you...
and waiting for you...
and hugging you...
and introducing you...
to your new eternal friends
to your new perfect home
and bringing you to the One
who loved you first and best.
And then we will live...
really live...
...happily ever after.

Photo by:  Jan Jespersen

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


Oh! how I miss Your voice!
I miss hearing your secrets,
hearing your insights,
even your warnings!

I sit and listen again but hear nothing.
The silence echoes & reverberates...
Sometimes it mocks me.
Sometimes it tells me it will always be like this from now on -
that pain & grief deafen your senses,
mess with your mind,
dull your abilities,
darken your capacity.

I hate to admit that in part it´s true...
That is many people´s experience.
But I am clear on this:
It will not always be this way!
It is a season.
And every season passes.
And every season has its beauty.

I used to hear Him easily...
Listening was my ¨go to¨ way to experience God.
His voice met me in various experiences & places;
I find myself lost without it!

Yet like a person struck suddenly deaf,
I am slowly learning to depend on other senses to a greater degree.
I am sharpening them as I learn to use them,
learning to compensate.
And I realize that I can experience God in so many ways!
He is not limited to my diminished senses
in this time of grief.
This is part of the beauty to be discovered in this season.

Certainly God is unlimited in His ability to communicate.
I am the one who is reaching out through human limitations,
through my wounded heart & senses,
asking Him to build my awareness,
asking Him to enhance my creativity in order to connect with Him.

So I open my heart -
to taste His goodness,
to touch His hem,
to smell His perfume...
soon enough I will hear Him,
Soon enough.
For now, the others are enough...
And they are beautiful.

But oh! How I miss His voice!

SOUND OF YOUR VOICE by Steven Curtis Chapman

Photo by:  Tangent Artifact

Monday, February 1, 2016


“Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion." "Ooh" said Susan. "I'd thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion"..."Safe?" said Mr Beaver ..."Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you.”

C.S.Lewis, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe

To my un-safe but good King....  :)

Praise comes
from trembling lips
Gratitude stumbles
from mustard-seed heart
Wisdom emerges
from a terrible, yet sacred journey
Trust is budding
from this pilgrim walk.

Tears, miles, hours, prayers
all done with Him.
He has not left me.
Yet neither He has explained Himself.
He is Love and Mystery.

The storms, mountains & valleys
are not over.
I thought they were!
But this trek still has more
break-points, look-outs, summits and precipices.
It is all mapped out in tender, yet stubborn love.

I breathe in, I breathe out,
take the next step.
I stop to take in the view
And He whispers
and smiles.
If I don´t pay attention
I will miss it!
So I pause often
To see the sacred in the terrible
to find beauty in the shadows
to embrace joy in spite of 
to kiss velvety petals.
lay on green,
listen to quiet waters.

And in those moments, praise comes 
from trembling lips...

Photo by:  Jesús Pérez Pacheco