Monday, December 23, 2013


I step into my in-laws house where my kids and their cousins are playing their favorite game appropriately entitled "Monster".
Uncle Jon greets me with the words, "Welcome to chaos."
I smile and reply, "I just left peace." I was referring to the quiet house I had inhabited alone all day.

I willingly left that quiet house and entered into the cousin chaos because I happen to love those children.

I tell my husband, after another late night, that I just want to spend Christmas alone, in front of the fire doing a 24 hour advent. I want a silent night. Peace.

And my friend and I banter on the phone about consumerism and expectations and family combustion and she says, "This isn't what Christmas is about!"

And in the time it takes to open my mouth in reply, I have an epiphany.
And I say, "This is exactly what Christmas is about."

And it is. He left perfect peace and entered into our chaos. Truly, 7 screaming cousins hold nothing to a lost world full of lost people screaming in their lostness. The kind of peace I asked my husband for, is an artificial peace. It's a state of mind brought about by sedate children and advent candles.  That isn't the kind of peace He came to give.

He came to give us peace with God so that His desire for unity and peace would become our desire. So that we could extend to those who have hurt us. So that we could deeply care about those wounded. So that our desire for peace would be greater than our feelings, greater than our rights, greater than our pain.

So this Christmas, He is being born again in me.
And I greet Him with the words, "Welcome to chaos."

And He replies, "I am Peace."
Because Love always enters in.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Lot Of Beautiful Work

In August, when the whole world was ripe and blooms had swollen to blossoms, we took a drive through the country.

We passed a house well set back from the road. In front of the house was a fairyland of flowers. This was no cottage garden running wild and sweet, it was a planned, precise, aisled garden. Well plotted rows of dahlias and roses ran obediently along from the house to the road.
I gasped when I saw it and shouted, "Look!"
It was so lush, so beautiful, I wanted the kids to see it. I slowed the car and let everyone get a good look. Grant was in the front seat and as we drove away I asked him, "Wasn't that beautiful?"
He paused and then answered, "It looked like a lot of work to me."
I had to laugh because my logical son is so different from his passionate mother.

A month later I was sitting in an airport waiting for my plane to Alaska to board. Grant and Rowan sat in seats across from me. They were reading something together. Grant had his arm draped casually, big-brother like, around Rowan's shoulder. Rowan would look up and he and Grant would share a laugh. It was a beautiful picture and I sat soaking it in. Then I realized that I wasn't the only one soaking. The woman sitting next to me was watching the boys also.
She looked away from the boys, found my eyes, and said, "Someone put a lot of work into those boys."

She was right.
Raising these children well is a lot of work.
But, oh, the beauty of a well tended garden is more than enough reward for this passionate mother.

A cup of tea and a nap are also appreciated.
Also, a good book.
I've always wanted a grand-father clock.

Monday, November 11, 2013

He's Eight and I'm Great!

We were at the cottage and I was having nightmares.
First, I woke up after being pursued down a forest trail by a wolf and a bear.
Then, I was at Avonlea's wedding reception, a kind of glorified birthday party in our yard, and I couldn't see the groom's face. (OK, you may not think this sounds like a nightmare, but it was right up there with bears and wolves.) I saw Avonlea, beautiful and grown, riding a pony around the yard in her wedding dress, but I couldn't find the groom. I didn't know who she married.
After that, I fell into another nightmare. A little voice chanted even numbers. Then multiples of 5, then 10. Oh no, she's starting into 7's. (Again, if you don't think this qualifies as a nightmare you've obviously never done math with Rose. Wolves and bears are nothing in comparison my friend.) Wait, she doesn't need to know 7's yet. This thought jerked me awake. I listened and realized that it wasn't a nightmare, Rosy was actually counting in the next room.

I investigated and found Rowan, with a lapful of math manipulatives, quizzing Rose.
"What in the world are you guys doing?" I asked.
Rowan piped up, "I thought I'd work with Rose so that she wouldn't stress you out so bad in math."
He had made her counting sheets and practice worksheets, laboriously copied out by hand. He had been drilling her for an hour by the time I woke up.

If you recall, three years ago I wrote a blog post entitled He's Five and I'm Still Alive. And that about summed it up. Rowan was a very difficult child. He was sick a lot. He had a 50% hearing loss. He had allergies. He woke up 4 or 5 times every night. His temper was a thing to be reckoned with. But all that has changed.

If you would have told me how utterly sweet and sensitive he would become I probably wouldn't have believed you. I recognize the change for what it truly is, the work of God in my child's life.

Rowan is delightful. He loves to wear hats.

He loves his grandparents.

He loves to go fishing.

He loves his brother.

And as I look at the amazing contrast in his life I am reminded that nothing is too hard for God.

When I took a situation that felt overwhelming to me and gave it to the Lord and learned to pray hard and love hard and forgive hard things I was changed, and so was Rowan. Rowan recently told me that he wanted to be a pastor when he grew up so he could teach people to love Jesus more and tell them what the Bible says. I don't know what he will become, but I know what he is, and through him I know God better than I did.

Thank you God for my precious son!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Generational Naughtiness

I've been missing this space. This white page...waiting....for black laughter and stories to dance across it. Iconic letters and captured picture moments and the record of a life lived. Cuneiform etched into brick. Words typed on a page. A life processed through fingertips tapping.

Today is my mother's birthday.
Last week she came to our life group because we were doing an India night. I wanted her to come share about the work she did there this summer at the orphanage. She came and sat in front of our little group and held up a big map.
She pointed out India and said, "It's right here next to the Bay of Ben Gay."
We all kinda cocked our heads, trying to remember why that didn't sound quite right. Dave piped up with a, "Are you feeling stiff or achy Gloria?"
At that I dissolved. She will never live that down.

So today we had the following text conversation.

Me: We've got all kinds of birthday crafts going on up here. You might need a bigger house
Mom: Would it justify a second story on this one?
Me: Remember your 73 now, you won't be able to walk up steps much longer
Mom: STOP! I can run thru a troop and leap over a wallllllllllll
Me: And afterwards you can take a swim through the bay of Ben-gay
Mom: U r so naughty

It's a little hard to wrap my brain around the fact that I'm in my late 30's and still being called naughty by my mother. Serious repercussions coming on this, can't I report her to child protection services or something? Oh wait, then who would do my dishes? Never mind. But speaking of naughty children...

Rose was in RARE form on Tuesday. Now those of you who have the pleasure of interacting with Rosy know that she is usually a wild card. There is no guessing what is going to come out of her mouth at any given moment. But on Tuesday she surprised even me. We had friends over and she came and planted herself in the middle of my tea party. I told her to go play and she asked if she could have candy. I told her no, she didn't need candy. She looked at my friend and said, "I have to cry to get candy. I just cry and they give me candy to make me stop. But I don't even cry anymore, I just go into the bathroom and put water on my face."
I was speechless. For one thing it's untrue, for another it's so naughty.

Where in the world does she get it?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Do You Ever....

Do you ever have those moments in life that are symbolic of a whole era?

For my highly romantic late teens/early twenties I often read poetry.
In a bubble bath.
By candlelight.
Once, I splashed upon an amazing poem while soaking in my parents home. I began reading it aloud. I was so caught up in it's imagery and beauty that I was shocked back to earth by a knock on the door. I was also shocked by the fact that I was standing naked, dripping wet, on top of the toilet. Beauty transports and transcends apparently. I rallied only enough to murmur, "Yes?"
My dad's voice, "Is everything okay?"

That moment symbolized a whole stage of my life that was impulsive and lyrical and sweet. And I recognized it for what it was and tucked it away to remember always.

And so today, again, a moment packed with symbolism. An era defined in 5 minutes.

My day was a battle, and like a pro I attacked whatever came at me with enthusiasm, barely identifying it before laying it low. Mondays are kinda like that, only the fittest make it to Tuesday unscathed.

So I was down to my hour of afternoon-school with Rowan and Rose. I lit into Bible and geography and impoverished people groups. No problems, no tears. Moving onto science. Alright, an experiment comparing the saliva of Rowan and his dog. Okay, wooden collection thingy in one hand Petri dish in the other.
"Open up Rowan."
Done. Troop outside to find Gypsy.
We head down to Mom's, thinking maybe she got out of the gate down there. We march down the street onto the sidewalk of a busy road calling for the dog.
At that moment it was as if someone knocked on the door.
I took inventory.
I had on yoga pants and perhaps an apron. I had nothing on my face except a thick layer of aloe vera and my glasses. I was walking up a busy street carrying a Petri dish in one hand and a wooden collection thingy in the other. I was followed by several children.
Mad scientist?
Pied Piper leading with a Petri dish?
Escaped home-school mom?
All of the above?

And I recognized it for what it was. A moment that defines my life right now. Leading, yelling, laughing. Looking for something I can't find. Holding something hilarious in my hands.
I tucked it away to remember always.

I went home and put on make-up and a neighbor brought Gypsy home.
I met Gyp on the porch with a wooden collection thingy in my hand.
I annihilated the science experiment with a deft swipe and went in to brown the beef.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Playing Country

When Dave and I were first married I used to sing while I flipped his pancakes in the morning.
It was a little ditty that went something like this:

"Well I've got me a fine wife,
I've got an old fiddle,
When the sun's comin up I've got cakes on the griddle,
Life ain't nothin but a funny, funny riddle,
Thank God I'm a country girl"

It was supposed to be "country boy" but that obviously didn't work in soprano.
We lived in a one bedroom apartment in a big city at the time, but I had a good imagination and overalls were in style.

The ditty turned out to be prophetic.
When we're up at the cottage, harvesting pears, hauling firewood, eating outdoors on the island, I really feel like a country girl raising a family of bumpkins.

Note my muck boots, that I love like kin.

We came back home from a beautiful weekend of outside living and we got to work. There was school and laundry to be done. I had applesauce to can and pears to slice and dry. But as I worked, I smiled, because I heard Rosy singing.........
"Thank God I'm a country girl!"
I wonder when overalls are going to come back in style?
PS You'd know I'm not really a country girl if you went inside the cottage. Country is great, as long as it doesn't interfere with my decorating.


Monday, September 30, 2013


A friend reminded me today of a story that I began in the church foyer several weeks ago, I was interrupted in the middle of it, and it was left dangling, glinting in the memory with the allure of the unknown, unresolved. A half-told story is an appealing thing. And yet, my friend, correctly surmised that that is an analogy of life right now, an interrupted story, a thing of interest half-told.
Morning comes and the story I begin here is interrupted a dozen times over, but I know it will get told eventually. So I persist in the telling, I take the detours, but I always come back to the story in the end. And in the meantime, it glistens in the atmosphere of our day, a tantalizing reminder to my children that someone cares enough about them to persist in the story.
So despite the fact that summer has ended and the ceaseless rains puddle deep, despite the fact that we have transitioned into school and activities with a surprising resemblance to a Tasmanian Devil, despite the fact that I'm driving my time without a spare, I'd still like to finish my story of our journey this July.
So I will. At least until I'm interrupted.

We drove out of London up to Edinburgh, Scotland. "Drove" is such an easy word to write. But WOW! try driving on the wrong side of the road, in the wrong side of the car, on round-a-bouts with just under a dozen exits, and you have a panic attack waiting to happen.
Once we got out of London, we were okay. That's a little like writing "once we got out of the bear's den we were fine." We had enough mess-ups to stretch our 6 hour car ride into a 8+ hour car ride. Fun is truly not the word.
Once we got to Edinburgh, we lived it up.
St. Giles Cathedral

Edinburgh Castle

Mary Queen of Scots bath house. Love the idea of a separate, multi-storied house to bathe in.

Some monument to something.

Grant wants it documented that there was lots of loose change in this park.

Gotta love the bagpipes.

Sir Walter Scott's monument, one of Scotland's famous authors.

We ended up coming home with a reindeer hide and an Icelandic sheep hide.

Avonlea is carrying the aforesaid hides in this picture. Note the cobblestone streets and phone booths. Disregard the Subway sandwich shop.

Another angle of Edinburgh Castle.

Rosy and I in front of some happy houses.
Hanging out. On a canon.

We spent quite a bit of time on this canon for some reason.

This is the castle draw-bridge, going over the moat.

We only stayed in Scotland for two days, but we thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. This is a picture of the country-side as we drove to Capernwray from Edinburgh. Can you see the lambies? See the tombstones?

I feel like Scotland itself is a story half-told, because I want to go back.

And this journey is still only half told because I have to go to bed.

But it's pleasant to have the unwritten words still dangle alluringly in the future.....

I'll leave you with a picture of a monument that they only got half way finished before they ran out of money. The Scottish people decided they liked it the way it was....there was something tantalizing in the very half-finishedness of it....

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Hit and It's Ramifications

I believe I left off writing our journey when we were on the cusp of Scotland.
I haven't been able to pick up the thread,
because I'm wobbly.
Once, many years ago when my grandpa died I said something like this,
"Grandparents are like chair legs, you don't even think about them being there until one of them is gone and all of a sudden you're off balance." Wobbly.
Apparently friends are comparable to chair legs as well.

Rowan has been complaining of a toothache for several weeks. I've been my usual compassionate self and have said beautiful things that he'll always remember like, "Well yeah Rowan, if you don't brush your teeth for two minutes like I tell you to you're going to get cavities and the dentist is going to stick a big needle in your mouth. And I'm taking it out of your savings account, say good-bye to the dreams of Lone Ranger Legos..."

Anyway my mom finally took him and it turned out to look like an abscess. They tried to fill it for now and he came home with a huge lip and plenty of drool. My mom said the dentist asked if he had been hit in the face recently. Hmmm, does the wheel barrow full of rocks falling across his cheek at the cottage count?

Later in the day he did math and I noticed him just kinda staring into space. I went over and asked, "Rowan, are you alright?" (Insert British Accent)
He looked up, swollen and startled, and said, "I think I'm just in shock."

And I had to turn away.
Because I completely understood.
Shocked, wobbly, just kinda looking around but not really seeing anything. That's me right now.
I lost a friend, she moved away, and it's not the end of the world, and yet it is. It's the end of the world as I knew it with a loving personality at my side, who delighted in the days with me. I didn't realize that she was a chair leg when she was here. I didn't realize I depended upon her for stability. But I did.

Extractions are shocking.

Monday, August 19, 2013

In The Beginning

In the beginning there were six happy travelers going on an adventure.
One of them was yummy.
All of them were eager.

We each had a carry on suitcase and a backpack. Each of us got 3 changes of clothes plus what we were wearing. The rest of the luggage was filled with gluten-free food because we didn't really know what to expect when it came to eating in England. And because, as we ate the food we could fill the empty space with souvenirs. I'm always thinking.

So, we had a 40 minutes flight up to Seattle. Still happy, still eager.
Then a 5 and 1/2 hour flight to New Jersey. Still happy, eagerness wearing a little thin.
Then a taxi ride at midnight from New Jersey to the New York airport (can you say free tickets?). We spent the night on the floor of the New York airport. No comment.
The next morning we boarded a 7 hour flight to England. Still happy but rather drowsy. We are not on speaking terms with eager at this point.
The highlight of the flight for me was Avonlea's conversation with a woman sitting next to her. I was in front of them so I could conveniently eavesdrop.
"So why are you going to England?" asked the woman.
"Our family is going to a Bible camp."
"Oh. Have you ever read the Bible?"
"The whole thing?"
"Do you have any of it memorized?"
"Would you say some of it for me?"
I waited in anticipation to see what verse Avonlea would choose. I was a little shocked to hear her begin quoting the book of Phillipians.
Avonlea told me later that the woman started losing interest after the first chapter so she stopped.!!!

By the time we got to London it was 11pm. We got a taxi to our hotel. We were all more or less just relived to be there and waiting nothing more than a BED.
We were trying to check into our hotel but there was some confusion.
Finally a man who looked uneasy (to put it mildly) came out to tell us that they had overbooked.
There was no room in the inn.
My children were sprawled out on the lobby floor (tile). I was exhausted and starving and not happy at all.
Not happy. Not eager. Not.

The staff apologized profusely and packed us off in another taxi to a hotel on the other side of London. We fell onto beds and slept for 11 hours. I was awakened by the phone in my room saying the taxi from the other hotel was coming for us and our room there was ready.

Luckily we hadn't taken anything off so we could basically roll out of bed and into the taxi.

 So we began, 3 days after we had left home, our adventures in England.
And we were happy. And eager.
And one of us was yummy.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Are You Alright?

England has several speech things that are different from ours.
For example....
Instead of asking "How are you?" they ask "Are you alright?"
Now, in America, "Are you alright?" is asked when someone is choking, or tripping, or they just look ill.
You can imagine how I felt then being asked numerous times, in succession, if I was alright.
At first I just nodded and smiled apprehensively.
Then I examined myself thoroughly to see what the heck was giving everyone concern.
Then I turned to Dave and said, "What's the matter with me??!!"
He was as puzzled as I was.
But after several days we figured it out by having our children explain it to us.
They picked things up quicker than we did.
Especially the accent. Here's what it sounded like to be asked if you were alright.
Dave figured out himself that people in England say "pardon" rather than excuse me.
He said "excuse me" trying to get through a store aisle and people parted like the red sea trying to get away from him. Apparently he just announced that he had gas.

Speaking of gas, I had the first time experience of having to pay to use the restroom. Traveling with FOUR children can get very expensive if you have to pay every time someone has to go.

People in England also say "brilliant" and "lovely" as opposed to "cool" or "awesome" or whatever kids say nowadays. At first I thought the people I was talking to thought that I was brilliant and lovely and it boosted my self esteem considerably especially after the "are you alright" incident, but no, it was just slang. Sigh.

One night at Capernwray, the staff decided to do a song and sing it like different nationalities. When they got to how the Americans sing it, they said, "Now we have to exaggerate all the movements because Americans think that everything in America is bigger and better."
Oh really.
The next day the kids asked me what that was all about. I told them, "Well, they were making fun of us, acting like we think everything in our country is bigger and better than any other country."
Grant looked at me across the table and said, "It is."
Apparently I am raising a stereotype. With blond hair and blue eyes.

Anyway, we were amazed at how even though we speak the same language, it was so hard sometimes to understand the British, the Scottish, and the Irish. We resorted to smiling and nodding ALOT and just silently prayed to God that they wouldn't ask us any questions that we'd have to try and decipher.


"Are you alright?"

Saturday, August 3, 2013

My thoughts in London at 4am

Half a world and half a lifetime away can't really be called a vacation.
It was a journey.
Dave and I took our four children back to where we met 19 years ago; Capernwray Bible College in England.

The goodness of God drenched this trip. His mercy brought some hard things in ourselves to light, things that obviously needed European exposure to be revealed. But we also saw some gifts with new eyes.

The second night in London I woke up at 1am, completely rested and ready to start the day. So did all the children. Jet lag. They all climbed in our bed and had yogurt and pretzels and cookies. We talked and laughed for two hours. After I re-tucked them in at 3am I laid awake thinking for another 2 hours.

This is what I thought.
When I was 19 I came to London utterly alone. Insecure. Unsure. Unloved.
Through amazing, devastating, miraculous circumstances God turned all that around.
Now, I didn't just go to Bible college and meet Dave. That would have been too easy. I met someone else who asked me to do life with him, who offered to fill the void of my soul. I said yes.
But God said no, He wanted that job.
And like Jacob, I wrestled determined.
God won.
"I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me." (Jer. 32:40b)
God's continued to win in my life even though I often continued to wrestle.
Then slowly I learned that God's wins, were actually my wins also.
That the places of battle turned into fountains of blessing in my life.
Simplistic to write, but difficult to go through, and incredible to think about at 4am in London.

But the reality was that I came back to London 19 years later with a husband who absolutely loves me, children that love Jesus, and I am still growing and walking with the Lord. All this is absolute Grace. Undeserved. My life is not perfect, I have many glaring flaws, but God continues to engage me where I'm at. Incredible.

We were gone for over 3 weeks. We visited, London, Edinburgh, Scotland, the lake district (Capernwray), and New York. We have more stories and saw more sights than I could possible relay. They will come out slowly over the next weeks, winding their way through my thoughts and finding a destination here. But today, I just wanted to post a few pictures and say that God is good, and if you doubt that, tell Him. Wrestle it out with Him. He'll win, and what you thought was a vacation will turn into a life journey.



New York

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


There's been a mass exodus out of my life.
This month.....

Neighbors. Two families across the street moved. Ten years of learning what it looks like to be a neighbor. 5 day clubs where their children whispered "yes" to Jesus. The noise of 13 children (3 in one family, 10 in the other) eradicated. And there's this vacuum of silence.

My mom. She's giving her energy and love and time to an orphanage in India. Serving Jesus is something you never retire from apparently. She's gone and there's no one to laugh at my jokes or bribe my children. She'll be back, but until then, this gap.

My friend and her 3 children. Missions again. Serving Jesus is something kids can do too apparently. Her children run their race and it happens to pass through Africa and Russia, she cheers from the sidelines. Cheers are synonymous with prayer in this word picture. They're gone and there's no one to laugh at my jokes or tea party with us. I'll see them again in a month or more, but until then, this silence.

My friend and her family. God called her husband to a pastorate in North Dakota. When God calls the husband, the whole family has to go apparently. So she trades in trees for prairies, and she gives me her hammock to rest in while she builds a new life. She's gone and there's no one to laugh at my jokes or tell me what the heck to do with the 30  pounds of strawberries my husband brought home today. She may never be back, and oh, the gap.

And for the first time in my life I feel like Pharaoh. Pharaoh, who says, "NO." I want to chase them.
I want them back. Oh why did I let them go!
But instead of running after them, I run the other direction. I run to the mountain.

Walking in the orchard, up one row and down another, I pray.
And I find, to my amazement, that I am blessed.
Blessed to have so many friends who love Jesus. Really love Him. Love Him enough to go.
And I pray for them. Pray and walk until I am weary and content.
And as I fall into bed, I know what He's asking of me.
"Let my people go."

And I give Him the only possible answer.
"Yes Lord."
And I stick on a post-it prayer.
"But next time, send me, too."
Because there is really no point in being funny if there's no one to laugh.

Friday, June 14, 2013

What would I do without you?

Her voice floats down the stairs. The sweetness of it falls upon me like a warm hand, like a benediction.
"What would I do without you Mama?"
It's a rhetorical question. It doesn't require an answer because the answer is obvious.
The real question is, what would I do without her. Without all of them.
My in-laws took the kids to their cabin for three days last week.
Dave and I slipped back into patterns for two. Long walks with the dog before dinner. Dinner consisting of scrambled eggs and sausage. Gardening. Going out at night.
As if the last 13 years of parenting never were. Well, almost.
The truth is, my husband of 16 years is infinitely dearer to me because of the way I've seen him love our children.
My mind is more alive and interactive with his conversation than it used to be because I've learned to listen to frog stories and bird-watching details.
I am much much more appreciative of silence.
I see beauty as my children would. They've opened my eyes to things I've never noticed, never known existed.
The knowledge of them, of the gift of them, has produced a divine gratefulness in my soul, I am utterly thankful.
So our time alone together, was the old, with a new flair.
And when our kids came back, well, my cup overflowed. Because to hold them in my arms, their warm bodies wrapped close, is like a benediction. A warm hand of blessing upon my head.
I am utterly thankful.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Growing Real

It's a flower from a ballerina's wreath. Pink, so that would be Amelia's.
I don't recognize it for what it is at first. I'm drawn to it's perfect examples of pistils and stamen. I lure the kids near, eager to illustrate their book learning. Again.
They lean in and Grant's eyes narrow. "It's not real."
He's right, it's a fraud, plastic pistils and all.
"How did you know?" I'm supposed to be the adult, the one who's got this botany thing down.
"It's too perfect. Perfect things are never real. It doesn't even smell."
Rosy objects after a long inhale, "It does so smell! It smells like plastic!"
I remove flower from small nostril.

His voice, his words, play ring around the rosy all day in my mind.
"It's too perfect. Perfect things are never real."
I aim for perfection and lose some of my humanity, my realness, in the bargain.
I'm reminded once again, that God doesn't want my perfection.
That His voice will shatter my illusions when I think I've got this Christianity thing down.
That the fragrance of God is Christ, realer than real, not plastic. I don't want to reek of imitation.

So I go outside and sit in the sun. Soak in it's healing warmth. And I grow real.

Two of my fairies at their ballet recital.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Flying Into The Light

It's a curious thing to fly to Alaska from the lower 48 at 9:30pm.
The world was dusky as we boarded the plane, but the further north we flew, the lighter it became.
It gave me an eerie time machine sensation of going backwards.
Three and a half hours later, we landed in Alaska, at dusk.

The next day the strangeness continued when it started to snow. I left the lower 48 in May and I landed in December.

Hearing someone shoveling their driveway when I awoke was a bit surreal.

I haven't been up to see Page for a few years. They were attending a new church, it just happened to be the church I grew up in, and haven't seen for 25 years. Again, speeding backwards.

I was even more amazed that someone there actually recognized me. And the man that stood up to preach was an old friend's little brother, who last I saw was running around in pull-ups. By some strange twist of fate, they planned a clip during service of an interview with the man who was pastor the whole time I was there. There he was, up front, proclaiming God's faithfulness on video just as he did when I was a little girl. I'll never see him again on this earth, but what an unexpected gift to have another glimpse of his kind face.

We were able to visit the little girls I used to nanny. They are beautiful women with babes of their own and I am so proud of them. So thankful for the times of laughter and dancing that we had together.

I look at these girls, and I look at my girls, and I look at Page, all growing every year more like Jesus, and I know that I don't really want to go back in time.
I came home today to 2 boys and one man who desperately missed their girls. Grant ran through the kitchen after we were all settled back in and said, "Everything is happy again now that you're home!"

I am so thankful for a past that brought me to this present.

Rosy's first time at the chocolate fountain.

Page and I love our girls!

Avonlea walking the tracks.

The tree which sister Amy and I almost ignited. It's my kids' favorite story of a bon fire gone wrong.

Madison and Rose on Beluga Rock. Dave proposed to me on the rocks right behind them.

Avonlea Page and Page on Beluga.

Avonlea converted Madison into a birdwatcher. They were able to spot a bald eagle and it's nest and several other birds which made Avonlea gasp and squeal at the same time.

I'll leave you with one of my personal favorites. Please remember that we came to Alaska from a heat wave in our neck of the woods. We were a little unprepared for the inclement weather. Page told me it was going to snow, but I didn't really believe her.
Rose was a trooper as we hiked to see the fairy field. In flip-flops. In the snow.


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