When Life Hands You Lemons, Make Lemon Bars

whenlifehandsyoulemonsThis holiday season, we were singing the “Twelve Days of Sickness” instead of the “Twelve Days of Christmas.”  What started in mid-December with puke buckets and snot rags continued all season long and made us wonder if Christmas would happen for us at all. I hardly had a moment to ponder the sacredness of the season, or the sickness, as I had in times past. The attack happened in waves, two or three different viruses descending on our home and knocking the kids down like dominoes. Every night one or another or all of them would wake with a hacking cough or vomit-covered sheets. Our bathtubs and washing machine seemed to exist for the sole purpose of clearing away bio-hazard.

A writing deadline hung over my head, but when I sat down to the computer, the sinus pressure was worse than the pressure to churn out the words. So, I’d take a three-hour nap instead…and still feel like mush. Probably the thing that pained me most was that I wanted to be there for other people who were in pain and I just couldn’t make it happen. Continue reading

Homecoming

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Over the trees, the sound of trumpets came to me. Drums bellowed back at mallets punching. Summer days, the marching band played like always. I could hear it from my backyard. Some days it was the sound of war, other days of celebration. I knew something was coming one way or the other.

I hadn’t known if we’d get to keep this house, this town and its music, these neighbors and our walks to school. I hadn’t known if we’d have the money to send my four year-old to preschool, the dream she’s been talking about for two years straight. I hadn’t known whether to plant my garden. But I planted it anyway, there in the backyard to the sound of distant music. Continue reading

The Details

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Welcome to those visiting from The High Calling where I’m writing today about thriving through stress. If you like what you see here at Message in a Mason Jar, I’d love for you to join my {free!} email list to stay up on latest posts and other happenings here.

I mentioned in my most recent post that my family has been going through some tough times this spring. One night in late February, I was finishing up the introduction to my Fear:Less theme of the year. The next morning, my husband and I were blindsided with the news that we’d be losing the majority of our annual income. Talk about a reason to fear. Today, with my husband’s permission, I’m sharing the details.

What has been your experience with the stress of job loss? If you haven’t been to The High Calling yet today, please follow me over that way and take part in the conversation in the comments under my article “Discovering Your Inner Genius.”

It was ten in the morning, and he was supposed to be at the office, but the garage door quaked open and his truck rolled in nonetheless. Soon he stood in front of me in his nicest dress shirt, the one he had chosen earlier that morning for the boss’ yearly visit to the global sales division. He dropped the briefcase from his shoulder. It fell like an anvil to our hardwoods. Company-wide cutbacks. Every place had been hit, even the minimalist legal department. The boss hadn’t even shown up to tell him face to face. Just like that, we lost the majority of our income and were thrust into the next stage of our lives.

I squeezed tight and held up the man who is normally my backbone. All kinds of worries bounced through his mind. He began to pace like a mathematician working on an impossible equation. [Read more...]

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Our Spring Will Come

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Sidewalks are the new riverbed. Water rushes down the slightest incline over cracks that break your mother’s back. Liquid leans over the frozen curb and flows down the path of least resistance.

But not you, little boy. You pick the hard way. Continue reading

Frankincense and Mercy {A Birth Story and a Thank You Note}

merciMerci. It means “thank you” and it means the things I’m thankful for, all the ways you, my doula, acted out the full meaning of the word in “providing relief from suffering,” and showing “compassionate treatment of those in distress.” That was me when the water broke on Good Friday, life flowing out in the restless dark of Golgotha, like the spear to Jesus’ side. Continue reading