Through Thorny Ways

MasonJarRosesHymn{Gracia Rose turned two this week. I plan to post photos from this year’s party soon, but for now, here is a little background about her name and some recent reflections along with some pictures from the Rose Garden Party we hosted to celebrate her first birthday last year.}

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My thin sweater did nothing to ward away the chill in the air. The smell of wet earth hung on the wind. I slopped my high heels through grass and mud on the way to the stadium where my littlest brother would be sliding the tassel from one side of his cap to the other, crowded in by hundreds of other robed students doing the same.

Murky water seeped into my shoes on my walk to the concrete. I wanted to grumble, but all I could think about were the waterlogged feet of a woman on the other side of the world, a woman wandering with holes in her boots and a gun to her head. She had walked that way for days, then weeks, then months. By now it had been almost a year since she and her husband were forced from a bungalow on their second honeymoon by a gang of rebels.

The woman’s name was Gracia. And I prayed for her. Continue reading

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

What to Wear When the Bad News Rolls In

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She pulled a crumpled surprise from her canvas bag. My friend had heard that our favorite little Italian fusion restaurant was giving away these hip Vespa T-shirts, and she rushed over to snag one for me.

When she lifted the shirt from the bag and shook the wrinkles out of the brushed cotton, I knew it was a gift not only from her, but from the Lord. Continue reading