Monday, August 15, 2011

Something to ponder

"If you in the morning
Throw minutes away,
You can't pick them up
In the course of the day.
You may hurry and scurry,
And flurry and worry,
You've lost them forever,
Forever and aye."

A song from Jerry Barker, Black Beauty, chapter 35

Monday, June 27, 2011

quietly counting

Opportunity to bless the children
And they are BLESSED by the opportunity
Spaces of time alone with the youngest
Swallows in & out of the cavity nests at God’s Garden
A robin on her nest
Chick a dee in the bird bath
Smoke has cleared from the mountain
On the day the children start their volunteer work so close to the mountain
And I feel like I can see the breath God blew to send the smoke away
Awe in the van as we all SEE the gift
Blue blue sky

Sunday, June 26, 2011

This Could Be Our Day ~ Ephesians 3

What we do here is just the beginning
New life is starting at every ending
We are a part of the story unfolding
This is the weight of the world we are holding

this could be our day...

Ephesians 3:14-21

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

This is my prayer for you, dear reader.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

More Reading, More to Think On

while my laptop lies waiting for treatment from the "puter hospital" to free it from a nasty virus, I am using others computers to check email, to watch my Simply Charlotte Mason planning dvd and reading more of actual books, and much less of blogs...

here is something I read this week while Chica worked hard on regaining strength and flexiability at gym...

"Patience following tribulation and experience following patience carry no labels as to whether they are for father or child, mother or grandchild, husband or wife.  This is how people are to get along with other people.  And it applies in the family first of all, equally for each to strive for."

from the chapter "A Changing Life Mobile" from What is a Family? by Edith Schaeffer

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Something I am Thinking On

DO I....

worship at my work?
work at my play?
play at my worship?

These questions were asked by a pastor at the baptist church in Chetwynd, BC last year.  I've carried the index card that I wrote them on with me, since, as it is something I want to continue to think on.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Writing Your Compassion Sponsor Child

Today is the second Friday of the month!  The day that we as a family write to our Compassion sponsor children and draw pictures to send to them.

the beautiful Herlinda

and handsome Bryan

Over the years of sponsoring children, writing the letters has been a challenge for me.  Not knowing the child personally, and have so much distance between us seemed to leave me not knowing what to say.  But these Moody Bible Institute Scholars, Compassion sponsored children who have graduated, have some encouragement to share on the importance of writing these letters to the precious children we sponsor.  And so we just do it, and it has become a joyful activity for us each month.

Wanna join us in writing some letters and drawing a few pictures today?009

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Free Father's Day Cards at Shutterfly

5x7 Folded Card
View the entire collection of cards.

Get 5 Free Father's Day cards at Shutterfly today (promo code DADCARD), and free shipping for orders over $30 (SHIP30)  AND if you shop through Ebates you earn 8%  :).

This was a fun project, making the Father's Day cards, as I let each girl have a turn at the computer to pick and build a card, then we did 2 more for grandfathers.

I also decided to give the "photo books" a try and ordered a photobook of all the pictures we took during Petal Rose's Mary Poppins production.  As much as I formerly enjoyed scrapbooking, it just isn't something I can set aside time & finances for in this season.  Maybe these photo book deals will be a good way to preserve some special memories :)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Thin Places by Mary E DeMuth ~ A review

Thin Places, a memoir by Mary E. DeMuth

Often I put a "hold" on books from the library website that I hear about from friends and on the internet.  This book was "requested" so far back that when I picked it up, I couldn't remember requesting it, and assumed wrongly, and rightly what it was about.  One of the blogs I follow is imperfect prose, where Emily writes and has spoke volumes to me on being a mother to daughters, on how to LOVE them, how to protect them from those prowling eating disorders that steal the life of so many young people.  So the title "Thin Places" seemed to me about that.  After the first chapter I almost sent the book back to the library.  Even told my dear Builder that I was going to.  This woman, Mary E DeMuth, wrote this book for me.  I'm pretty certain of it.  Not that every single thing was the same as what I have experienced or struggle with, but boy was it close.
"What if you could retrace your life and discover its thin places -places where the division between this world and the eternal fades?  Thin places are snatches of holy ground, tucked into the corners of our world, where we might just catch a glimpse of eternity.  They are aha moments, the beautiful realizations."

Mary DeMuth is brutally honest in her memoir.  So very open, honest and courageous.  The weaving of this story she tells with broken, strong, fragile, beautiful imagry in her words.  These stories are terrible hard to tell, terrible hard to hear.  But they need to be told, and they need to be heard.  And she says in the chapter Amazing Life 

"If I throw all the journals out, my reputation will be safer, won't it?  No one will know the depth of my depravity.  No one will have the fodder to expose my soul to the world like a spiritual muckraker.  All true.  But they also won't see a wrestling pilgrim, following painstakingly after Jesus. No one will see the portrait of the girl who falls down, then gets up.  The grace that shines brighter on a darkened life will seem duller without my darkness.  And maybe I'll be tempted -if I throw away my journals-to stand a little taller, believing that somehow I corrected myself, that I became free by my own doing."

And she quotes 2 Corinthians 1:3,4 ~ "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."

The author has written a difficult true story, yet beautiful in the promise woven in, God sees us.  He is present, ever working on our behalf, choosing us, redeeming us.  Even when it is very dark, when we are very dark and we can't see Him, He does see us.
linking up with Jessica at

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

How Does Your Garden Grow?

We love gardening here at Columbine Gardens and this year, with the new Square Foot Garden boxes that Builder built, it's even more fun, becuase it's more organized!  We have a few other delight sprinkle through the yards too...

At the very front of our veggie & herb garden Mae & Chica planted a cut flower bed and a sunflower bed.  We put in a geraniam, African daisy & some snapdragon plants from Lowes as well.  We are looking forward to fresh flowers for our table, and also welcome the bees & butterflies that might fly in for a visit.

the foliage on the snapdragons doesn't look healthy, but it is still blooming.  We're not sure, but maybe it is too hot in this part of the garden.  Mae & Chica sowed Bachelor Buttons and Hollyhocks in this box too.

Sunflower seedlings

Over by the bedroom windows we planted honeysuckle, two years ago.  One of the plants died during our absence last year, and we replaced it with this beauty
The other is slowly coming back and we are pleased to see it starting to reach for the trellis.073

074One of the Aspens that Builder planted a few years ago also died, but the other two are looking great now that they are all leafed out.

There are pretty daisies nodding their friendly welcome by the mailbox. 059
Years ago our oldest daughter grew a delightful daisy ring around a maple tree.  Those daisies were so pretty, and now daisies, Shasta Daisies actually, always bring Miss Sparkles right into my thoughts.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Seeking Dirty Hands & a Clean Heart

"God is interested in the great reversal.  Not clean hands and a dirty heart, but a clean heart with dirty hands.  It reminds me of this verse:  'Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this:  to look after orphans and widows in their distress (dirty hands) and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world (clean heart).'  James 1:27"  Thin Places by Mary E DeMuth

As this past week we read posts from the blessed heartbroken, those who traveled to the Phillipines to visit the Compassion projects and met the people, so much bubbled in me.  So much want to GO myself, with Builder and children.  Travel to "that" place, meet those children, see their world. 

I know this verse above, I believe it and seek to do it.  In all this affluence, all this abundance doing it here seems so much less.   Then I looked into the eyes of the not so little ones entrusted to me, the little ones who visit for a few hours a week and it comes to me.  There are widows abandoned by their men, children orphaned by their fathers, the heartbroken, and the simply sweet young hearts of our own to look after, right here, right now. 

The real ache, the real trouble with this verse, keeping oneself from being polluted by the world.  To be sure to use this abundance and affluence to HIS glory, for the care of whoever He brings our way, or puts on our hearts, and to teach the precious "hope for the future" that dwells right here with us.  Wisely, as stewards.

counting:  a few of the gifts from  #571-583

Bubbly laughter of children

Cookie Dough birthday gift
Flowers outside my kitchen window
Baby birds in the birdhouse
God’s word, ever true
Books that make me think
Guidance in decision making
Hurts revealed
Sleeping children
Hearing the Spirit speak, and hearing Him say, “Yes, it is ME” through the message on Sunday morning
Growth in the garden, hope for growth in my heart
Discouragement, an opportunity to purpose to be steadfast in hope
Scriptures with the children

Sunday, June 5, 2011

In Christ Alone

if you would like to listen to this song, scroll down to the bottom of the page to still the playlist that is set to fill this little corner of cyberspace with quiet worship of Jehovah, the God who loves.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Summer Fun with Younger Cousins and Friends

"Great" nephews have been spending time with us the last few weeks, and recently brought a bag of hopeful campfire fun.


Our city is under a fire ban so we are not able to use our fire ring, and roast hot dogs & marshmallows over the fire...


but we improvised!

and had a GREAT time...



We've also had a delightful time with the 3 year old twin sons of one of our oldest daughter's friends from high school.



It is with joy and hope that we pulled out an old favorite,


to read again and share with the younger ones who God allows us time with.

Summer is off to a great start!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Planning for More ~ Happy Results

Last week I shared my joy over some recent lab results.

After conversing with Builder a few times about this topic (I was actually pretty excited) we've come up with a few more small changes to add to my daily life.  And I am planning on making an appointment in a year to see how those changes will affect these "numbers."

Continually increasing my water intake, and continuing to steer away from soda, sweeten drinks
Walking at least 3 times a week, Stretch & Strength 2 times a week
Going outside every morning that it is possible, to read for 15 minutes (vitamin d & Mother Nurture)
Taking a vitamin d supplement in our smoothies
Consistently taking a calcium supplement
Increasing the amount of soluable fiber in my diet (need to do more research on this one)

So tell me, are there small changes you are making in your life, with the hope to reap some happy results?

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


this morning the cool morning air beckoned me out with Bible, journal, book, coffee and phone.  what stillness filled my busy mind as the coolness caused me to tuck my feet under me, and to pull on a sweater, as the chickadees tried to gather the scratch grain left by the chickens before "the dog" laughingly scatters them in his patrol through the yard.

i am so thankful for the gratitude community, for Ann's sharing her journey toward grace & learning to make the days count by counting the gifts.  even when life is crazy swirling around me, when the math book brings tears and the sweet extra children arrive before i've finished my first cup of coffee...the practice continues, my heart silently counts the gifts...and sometimes some of them get typed onto the list.

those which have been recorded this week: #558~571

Scripture memory box ~ how that little box helps us!
Dinner in the crockpot at 8am
Reading Leading Little Ones, again!
And Mr Popper’s Penguins, both with a new set of kiddos
Smores in the backyard
Baby birds cheeping
An opportunity to listen
Four extra little feet
Energetic boys EARLY
Herding chickens by harmonica
Mountain chickadees in the morning
Listening husband
Morning prayer times
Sleeping children

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Arm Still Broken, Sparkly Orange Cast is the Treatment

Sparkly Orange Popsicle Cast

Only a piece of clay

Just this past week I had one of those times, where I left off a conversation with my FATHER with "I just don't get this LORD.  This is distasteful to me, it's so harsh and..." and the loving FATHER that He is, He gives me this response...

“I’m like a piece of clay trying to explain to other pieces of clay what the potter is like. Think about that for a second. It shows the silliness for any of us to think we are an expert on Him. Our only hope is that He would reveal to us what He is like, and then we can just repeat those things.” Francis Chan

No, my ways are not anything like HIS ways. HIS ways work, and my way so often doesn't, so often hurts people's hearts. Thank God for His great love and mercy.  Not that in this particular moment I thought that I really KNEW HIM, or that I was an expert in anything, but I had an opinion on HIS word.  What grace, this God, that would keep pursuing me with truth, rather than give me what I really deserve.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Chica's Profession of Faith ~ No Greater Joy

This weekend Chica experienced a long awaited event. Sometime in the late summer, early fall she asked to be baptized ~ and the church we attended in Canada did not have a baptismal. I believe they do their baptisms in the summer, in the river :)

So we waited.

So we are back home, and have found a wonderful fellowship of believers to worship with and serve alongside.  And this weekend, Builder had the privilege, the honor, to baptize our youngest daughter in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit.


Earlier in the week Chica and I visited with Pastor Anderson and another family with a young person choosing baptism.  Pastor spent a great deal of time in the Word with us, asking questions, explaining baptism and also, teaching about what is to come next in the life of a follower of Christ.


At home, the next morning, it was exciting to share with the sisters what we had learned.  After the Scripture reading and a time of prayer, we each retreated to take some time to write down our testimonies.  What precious opportunities I have been given with these precious 3 youngest children.


And Sunday morning, with all four of her older sisters present, Faith was buried with Christ in baptism


And raised in newness of life.

How deep the Father's love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He would give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One
Bring many sons to glory

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no powr's, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

©1995 Kingsway's Thankyou Music
Words and Music by Stuart Townend

giving thanks for so very much
Tickle love

Opportunities to serve Together
Another wedding invitation
Friends who speak truth, difficult truth
The laughter of cousins
Rain, soaking wet the ground
A sweet time of revelation in this parenting adventure
Peace, even when things seems to be spiraling
5 daughters, all in a line, sitting next to me in worship
Daughters, who are also sisters in Christ

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Small Changes = Happy Results

A few years ago, during my most recent routine physical (I don't make routine doctor visits very often!) I was handed a lab order. After the 2003-2005 season of major & minor surgeries, I wasn't worried about a simple lab order.

The surprise came 2 weeks later when the doctor's nurse called to read the results to me.  Bad cholesterol, LDL, was low enough - great.  Good cholesterol, HDL, was low, too low.  After telling the nurse thanks for the good news, she promptly told me this was NOT good news.  That a person with low cholesterol had as many health risks as someone with high cholesterol.  And my blood sugar was on the high end of okay.  100.  And I was 20 lbs over weight. 

This was really surprising to me, and not really surprising at the same time.  While we had made a lot of changes in our diet over the years, there was plenty of room for improvement.  So I did a little research, found a few changes that we could add into our life (small steps) and moved forward.  A big items is that we have decreased the amount of sugar, including from soda a great deal, although I am still overweight, more so even.

When the doctor handed me the lab order 3 weeks ago, I actually felt nervous, and took it home, set it on my desk and ignored it for 2 weeks.  Life slowed down and I decided that I did want to know where things are now.  And JOY, small changes did bring happy results.

My HDL is 47, one point above 46 (evidently it is best to not be lower than 46)
LDL is 113
Blood sugar 94!
Vitamin D deficient (something new to me, I need to learn about this one!)

These happy results have inspired me to pursue a few more small changes.

And in case you wonder about those "first" small changes...

**Avocados, as often as possible.   I love avocados and have no problem spending a little extra at the grocery store to have 1 or 2 a week, even when they are not on sale.
**Olive oil for almost all cooking, and slowly still getting accustomed to the taste in our homemade salad dressing.
**Coconut oil for baking instead of butter (much of the time)
**Fruit & Veggie smoothies with plain yogurt several times a week
**Significant decrease in the use and consumption of sugar, using honey and maple syrup when we need a little sweetner
**More beans and lentils in our weekly diet.
**Increased our use of fresh garlic in our cooking
**More varied vegetables, we plant more different kinds and try new ones from time to time
**More active lifestyle, but that is a work in progress

So, if you are struggling with the need for changes in your lifestyle, diet, for the good of your health, I encourage you SMALL STEPS!  The list above was not made all at once.  Those changes have taken place over about 4 years, little by little.  You can do it, and the results will be HAPPY  :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Grace Unfolding, Everyday

Life continues on, and sometimes at a pace that causes me to forget to write down on the list, the daily blessings, the daily evidence of grace so abundantly poured out.  One thing that I've noticed though, is the conversations, the verbal reminders to find the blessing, to unwrap the gift hidden or disguised, and to tell them to one another, even if we don't find pen and paper in that moment.

tidbits from #518 to 543

Hugs from daughters, so tight and full of love
Thunder and lightning
An upcoming baptism
Dog snuffles and laughter from the children
More books that we can read
Blossoms on the fruit trees
New berry and grape vines (she considers a field and buys it, or she looks at her big yard and choses fruitbearing landscape)
Exciting summer opportunities!
Cookies by Mae
Happy celebration of Grandma's 90th!

So very thankful that the seeking and finding of moments filled by grace and love and hope and joy isn't forgotten, even when the written list is for a time.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

It's Been 8 Years! Reposting from 3 years ago...

On turning 40....

It's funny, most of us can remember back when we thought "40 is so old". I had such a different perspective the year that I looked toward "that" birthday.

When my dear friend Vickie turned 40 year before, I started to tease her a bit when she gently set me straight. Vickie told me how THANKFUL she was to have made it this far, to be alive, to be healthy, to have her family. That quickly turned my teasing to rejoicing, as I realized all too well what she was saying.

About 20 years ago Vickie fought a fierce battle with cancer. After she won that battle, she went on to marry her sweetheart and to miraculously have 2 fabulous kids.

And, she reminded me, I have much to be thankful for too. Just 8 years ago I was dying from Congestive Heart Failure and was quite spiritually sick. In May 2003, when Chica was just shy of 5 months old, I had valve replacement surgery. After the surgery, the surgeon didn't give us much hope for recovery, he felt the damage to my heart was too extensive.  He told me to go home and enjoy the time I had left with my family.

Oh what Joy! God wasn't taking me Home quite yet. Eight weeks after the surgery I received the wonderful news that my heart was healing, returning to normal size and function! April of 2008 I was released from cardiac care, but in December of this past year, tests showed new changes in my cardiac health.  What these changes mean, I don't know, but praise God, the old fear hasn't been able to take root in my life.
I have been given so much more than the physical healing and extra years, I've been given new life in Christ! During that time 8 years ago, God did some major heart surgery on me. For the work He has done in my life I am so grateful. The way he scraped so much of the ugly past out of my heart, fully healed many old wounds, softened the scars and in place of it all, put his joy and peace.  And today I have confidence that I can face whatever lies ahead, with His hand holding me and giving me every beat of my heart that HE has ordained.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord, Who gives and takes away. My heart has chosen to say, Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Too Small to Ignore by Dr. Wess Stafford, with Dean Merrill

These past months I've read a lot and learned about different people, and their ministries. It has been a time of refreshment and challenge, especially in the area of parenting the precious children in my home. Seeing how the love, compassion, joy and discipleship that starts at home, and springs out from there..

One of the books I've read is  Too Small to Ignore, Why Children are the Next Big Thing, by Dr. Wess Stafford, with Dean Merrill.

too small to ignore

In this book, Dr Staffords tells of his childhood in West Africa, from the nurturing African village where his parents served as missionaries, to the horrors of the Missionary Kids boarding school  he was sent to at the young age of 6. 

It is so hard to understand why God allows children to suffer such wicked things, but I am thankful for what HE has produced in Dr Stafford through that suffering, a compassionate heart towards the smallest, the weakest, and those broken.

I loved reading how Dr Stafford's heart has been moved on the behalf of the smallest of humankind, and was very encouraged that he clearly stated that compassion for the least of these starts in our homes, with our own God given children.  If you are interested in learning more about the heart of the man who leads Compassion International, I encourage you to read this book, or listen to the audio recording which is available at iTunes.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mary Poppins!




This term Petal Rose took part in a Musical Theater class with the Academy of Children's Theater.  What a BLAST she had!  This was a class full of really great kids, and the most fun, cute teacher (Heather) a 10 year old girl could ask for.

The most remarkable thing on the night of the actual performance is this...these kids truly looked as those they were have the best time of their life!  Their lines were flawless, their voices beautiful, their acting great, but that chemistry of comradery and delight in what they were doing is what blessed me the most!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Another Broken Arm

Well, she did it.  Chica is by far our most active child, jumping and flipping and running and skipping most of the time.  And by flipping, she has managed to break her arm.  This time we have a green stick fracture of the ulna and bowing of the radius.

broken arm 2
after casting and a good night's sleep

figuring out one hand playing
figuring out how to play her recital piece, with one hand

So in the last 3 years there has been a night stick fracture, a buckle  fracture and now a greenstick fracture.  And I'm hoping that's the end of the broken bones!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Easter Celebrations

This year we read Amon's Adventure, A Family Story for Easter by Arnold Ytreeide, and have enjoyed lighting the candles on our Advent to Lent wreath.  We also hosted the family gathering, and had the delight of all 5 daughters being home for awhile.

What treasure we have in these ladies

Oldest Kelly cousin Amber, and her 2 boys have recently moved to our city and we greatly enjoyed having younger cousins to share the TREASURE EGG adventure with!




These pictures really capture the personalities in our youngest 3 daughters.  They are so much fun to watch!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

When God Created My Toes by Dandi Daley Mackall

This SWEET book arrived in last week's mail.  When GOD Created My Toes, is as I just said, very sweet.  A perfect storytime book to share with the little ones in our lives, as we begin to teach them all about the wonderful GOD who did create us, fearfully and wonderfully, and who loves us tremendously.

There is a lot of rhyming and very vivid illustrations to engage children, and to help encourage conversations about how perfectly God has made us.

Disclosure: I received this book free of charge with the hope that I would share an honest opinion of the book.  This honest opinion is all mine.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sketch Tuesday ~ Something Crafty

There was a fair bit of discussion about this week's topic, but the girls surprised me with their sketches!


Petal Rose

ChicaChica added a bat...the youngest 2 girls just completed a short chapter on bats!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Simply Living, Loving and Counting

507. Daffodils in the neighbor’s yard

508. Tulip greens in our yard

509. Warm evenings to work a bit in the yard

510. An evening visit to the chicken coop. Pretty, colorful birds.

511. Happy helpers who now clean the kitchen, and keep laundry going.

512. Safe travel

513. An exciting summer opportunity.

514. Hints that prayers are being answered.

515. Fellowship

516. Chocolate chip banana waffles

517. Laughter over the “cone of shame”

518. Writing letters

Monday, April 11, 2011

Less Blogging, but Still Counting

In the last month waves of grief from years past hit me low, bending me to my heart's knees.  And then, the death of a dear family member who had been estranged from the family for many years brought gales of grief present.  But my FATHER, He was here, bringing joy in the midst of the mourning.

You see, when drug abuse, alcohol abuse, child abuse, domestic abuse, and divorce ravage a whole generation of a family, lives shatter, the children stagger, scatter.  People who were here then, are absent the next day.  It happened in my family.  In the storms that broke the marriages when i was a young adult, i lost contact with many family members.  Some completely left the family (divorce does that), some of us were simply left in our own wreckage, the pain and repercussions separating us from those we had been so close to.

For many years i've worked through the wreckage of my life, and found precious gems of God's handiwork...mercy, healing, restoration, a good husband, precious children ~ a new family.  And almost, i forgot the missing them part of me.  Those people from where i come from, missing them. 

Uncle Jack, June 1986But then, word came, my uncle died.  The one who taught me to drive. 
The one who traveled with my aunt and cousins to celebrate my high school graduation.  The one who held me when i was 19, unwed, and pregnant and told me "You will be a good mom." 

Yes, Uncle Jack was a very special man in my life.  Then drug addiction stole him from all of us.  And i never saw him again.  Sometimes you really don't know that you have a missing piece of your heart, until the finality of death.

So i traveled last week to honor the him as the man that i knew, and to seize the opportunity to stand next to my cousins, his children.  What i didn't know, was that i was also traveling into the arms of my aunts and my cousins.  Now on the other side of all that brokenness, able to be among the women of my family, embraced and welcomed home.

Uncle Terry, Aunt Cathy, Alayna, Chris, Aunt Nancy, Jenny & Carter, Aunt Mary, Felica & Moi
Joy consumes grief in those moments, humble gratitude.

Counting #483-506

Grace at the end of the day, to know that His mercies will be new in the morning.
An understanding husband
Inexpensive flight to join grieving family and remember a much loved uncle
Good friends to care for my children while I travel quickly
My sister
A flight that puts me back in our airport 10 minutes before Builders flight from a different trip? Joy!
A child praying for my heart to be comforted
Seeing extended family members after so long
Being lovingly embraced back by my aunts
Long lost cousins
The displacement of divorce is washed away
Fresh snow on The mountain.