Friday, February 6, 2015

murphy's lie.

Last week, Luke left for a six day business trip. I spent one, fun-filled day with the kiddos – my spirits were high – I felt encouragement from friends and family – I was doing GOOD.

Then the next morning came. Whimpers of “mama” from my two year old’s bedroom and the cry that her tummy hurt. I scooped her up and brought to bed with me, expecting we’d both just fall back asleep until her brother woke us up.

But then she said, “It really hurts,” in a voice that was unfamiliar and impossible for me to ignore. We both sat up.

And that was the beginning of Puke Fest 2015. I grabbed a Pyrex dish from under the kitchen island (p.s. throwing THAT away) and she tried really hard to aim into it, but most ended up on me, her, her blankets and just about everything that wasn't the Pyrex dish.

Without going into all the details, let’s just say it wasn't pretty. The girl was miserable. Caleb confusedly followed us around with the Pyrex dish as we trudged through the cycle of changing clothes, cleaning up messes, sipping Fresca and eating crackers. Puke, then repeat.

We prayed and I think it reassured her and I KNOW it reassured me. Daddy called many times and, as much as I felt bad for myself, I felt bad from him also. He’s always on the front lines with the kiddos and I know he felt the sadness and guilt that she was so miserable and that he wasn't there to help. And we had four days ahead.

I thought, if this HAD to happen, why couldn't it have happened a week before when I had Luke here? Or a week when I didn't have big meetings and deadlines at work?! And if she HAD to be sick, why not the usual fever that goes down with Tylenol and gives way to all day snuggles? Why this violent tummy bug that she NEVER gets?

I thought of how Murphy’s Law – anything that could go wrong, will go wrong – couldn't have applied more. 

I called in for back up and my sister dropped everything to pick Caleb up and get him out of there. The rest of the day, Kenzie hung on me like an orangutan as I unsuccessfully attempted to do laundry and disinfect and shower. After awhile I gave up. Our clothes were going to smell, the house was going to smell, we were going to smell. I laid on the couch with Kenzie right on top on me. Her favorite movie, Mr. Peabody, played in the background (it’s about a dog who adopts a boy and they travel through time – riveting). I stared out of the window at the annoyingly sunny backyard and thought about how I had an out of town work meeting the next day and projects due on Wednesday and whether I should take Kenzie to the walk in clinic or wait to see if she improves and WHY this was all happening this day of ALL days on this week of ALL weeks to little, incompetent me of ALL people.

Caleb spent that night at Bina Aunty's while Kenzie and I snuggled together in bed, Pyrex bowl by our side, both exhausted for different reasons, but exhausted just the same.

And then the next morning came.

I was able to get out of my work meeting to stay home with Kenzie and I was happy to see no signs of her sickness from the past day. Her appetite was back and so was her smile and silliness. We spent the entire day playing babies, coloring pictures and fluttering around in our butterfly wings pretending we could fly. We cured our cabin fever by venturing out and enjoying the crisp, sunshiny day. I took a conference call during nap time, then typed away on my laptop in my bedroom - making a considerable dent in my work project for Wednesday – while Kenzie quietly played with her paints on the floor.

While Sunday felt like Murphy’s Law had struck again, Monday brought with it the perspective that it’s never really ALL bad or ALL wrong. Through the cracks and crevices of a bleak day, light always finds a way to peek out. Light in the form of a patient, compassionate kid holding out a Pyrex dish for his sister. Of a tired little girl resting in my arms, telling me that I'm all she needs. Of a sister and aunt who doesn't hesitate when we’re in need. Of a husband's loving phone calls that calm both of his girls and make hard moments feel better. Of a boss that would understand and of work that could wait. Of sweet snuggles and uninterrupted time.Of bouncy curls and butterfly wings. Of watching a movie about a dog in a time machine all the way through for the first time ever and realizing it’s actually not that dumb. Of family bringing over Indian food for dinner and sitting around table with me. Of words and actions pouring out of people's hearts and filling mine. Of conversations with God that may never have happened otherwise. Of a sun that still shines even when I stubbornly shut the blinds. Of knowing that “little, incompetent” me doesn't exist because of mighty, powerful Him.

Because of it all, I know. Murphy’s Law is kind of a lie. Everything that COULD go wrong will never ALL go wrong. There will always, always be something right.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

what. a. game.

Image courtesy of Google

"For there is nothing impossible with our God"
Luke 1:37

it's no secret that the 2015 nfc championship game was something to be remembered.

for seahawks fans - we'll never forget it. we lagged, we were mediocre, we were expected to lose until two minutes into the fourth quarter. some stayed with us and believed, some left early, turned off their tvs and radios because the disappointment of it all would be too much. no one could fault anyone for doing what they needed to do.

as a girl who was there when rick mier  (and can i just say i loved him and rooted for him every sunday) was our hope, i get it. it is no small thing to have a winning season. it's no small thing to win a wild card. it's no small thing to make it into the playoffs. and it is for sure no small thing to win your way into the super bowl.

this is big.

and we've done it twice in the last two years.

no one could dispute that russell wilson was special. we saw that in him as a rookie. we knew that when we narrowly escaped winning the division finals with atlanta three years ago. we noticed that he was - of course - disappointed but also so excited because he knew good things were ahead. he was excited to play with the team he loved and see what they could do.

we've seen what they can do.

i love the heart of this team.  richard sherman, who is smart and talented and runs his mouth like no one you've seen. and marshawn, who is a beast and plows over the biggest of guys and waltzes into the end zone like it's no big deal. and doug baldwin who leaps to make the big catches. and luke willson. and jermaine kearse. and pete carroll in his tennis shoes. and everyone and everyone.

and the 12s. i feel like our hearts have always matched up with theirs, but with this team, we're at our best.

and then there is the other side. there is aaron rodgers biting his lip, shaking hands, doing the obligatory press conferences, through his crushing disappointment. there's mike mccarthy, who spoke to a reporter with tears welling up in his eyes, telling the world that it hurts, but that he's proud of his team. there are the faces on the sidelines that break your heart because you know they know that victory was so close to them - they could almost touch it, taste it. until it was ripped away. we can relate. we've been there. we may be there again. it's not fun.

i see wilson pointing to they sky, saying God is too good through honest, thankful tears, telling everyone that He prepared him for times such as these. that nothing is impossible. not for one second do i believe that God loves wilson more than rodgers or even (gasp) kaepernick. i know that's not how it works.

but there is something inspiring about wilson's humble confidence and his boldness in pursuing the talent that God gave him. He simply trusts the Lord to do what He'll do.

our kids will hear about this game for years to come. i hope what they'll learn from it is that it's great to be the winner. but on any given day you can be the loser, so have compassion. and never give up - even with two minutes left in the 4th quarter. keep fighting and keep believing. have a humble confidence in the talents and gifts that God has given you. He is always your hope, and that means NOTHING is impossible.


go hawks.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

out there.

“Making the decision to have a child - it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ” 
- Elizabeth Stone
I wasn't really surprised when his doctor said his tonsils were huge. It explained his interrupted sleep, constant congestion and missed breaths.  We made the decision to take them out sooner than later. 

The week before his surgery, my heart was conflicted. And the night before. My sweet, unsuspecting boy who only expected ice cream and popsicles. I wanted to wrap him up and say to heck with it. If you have colds for the rest of your life and never sleep, no worries, I will be right there with you. It might get a little awkward when you're in college or married, but we'll manage.

But we did it. And in the mercies of all mercies, the surgery was so easy. Our nurses (they deserve a whole separate post) loved my boy so perfectly - a boy they totally didn't even know, but made him and us feel so known. To the point that he was wheeled away smiling and waving. I wanted to give them all long, lingering hugs and tell them all I was forever in debt, but I restrained myself and just said "thanks, thanks SO much."  My heart let out a sigh when I remembered that we were covered. Not a tear was shed until the doctor met us in the waiting room and told us everything went perfectly. Only a fraction of the fears I feared gave way. I was ensured that God had him. It was mercy.

Watching him recover has been hard and beautiful. I never want him to hurt so, yes, at times it is so very hard. But his resolve. His fight. His sweetness and bravery. The quiet humor he shares with us in whispers and smirks when he doesn't have the energy to do much more. The days of cuddles and shutting off the responsibilities of life to be present with my family. Little Kenzie girl talking to him in her baby voice, putting his blanket on him, making him laugh.

(Side note: Kenzie wanted to talk and talk and talk with Caleb and he wasn't saying much, so Luke said, "It hurts Caleb's throat to talk too much, so let's let him be." To which Kenz said, "I love you, Caleb." And Caleb answered, "I love you, Kenzie." And Kenzie gasped, "Oh Caleb talked! He loves me!!")

And it's not lost on me that we are lucky. That some parents pray for this to be the least of their troubles. Ugh. Yes. This brings me closer to that.

God for sure gave me a new heart the day he gave me my baby boy.  And then renewed it when I got my baby girl. And then He told me that my heart would forever be out there, so very vulnerable forever.  But that it was okay because He was trustworthy. I could trust him with a love so great.  

There's no doubt about it, my heart is no longer my own. It's out there.  It's on the playground at recess. It's there in the middle of the night when temperatures are spiking. It's at the door when we're having time outs. It's at the feet of the bluest ocean skipping rocks. It's on a road belting out our favorite songs. It's in the kitchen chasing a curly haired girl.  It's on a couch telling my boy he can trust me because I'm his mama and I would do anything for him.

It's in an operating room where I am not. 

But where He (thank you, thank you SO much) still is.

Thursday, September 11, 2014


Thirteen years ago the world changed before my eyes. It became darker as I witnessed the crushing magnitude of evil and hatred. But it also got lighter in some ways as I realized that people could be braver, stronger and more heroic than I ever even knew. There are many stories from that day – people who were there, people who knew people who were there,  and people just watching their television screens in horror. Many people still ask each other “where were you?” on its anniversary. We all seem to remember it like it was yesterday.
We call it 9/11 because that’s the date that it happened. I always kind of thought it deserved a better, more descriptive name, but then again I don’t think that proper words exist to sum up that day. Innocent, oblivious travelers boarded planes. Normal, devoted employees went to work. First responders sat in their police cars and fire stations, unaware. Mothers and fathers. Sons and daughters.
When it happened, I thought to myself, “Did that REALLY just happen?” It was so shocking, so unthinkable. And then it happened again, and again and again. We all became scared, unsure of what was next, not quite knowing what to do. And when those towers crumbled, so did our sense of control and security. Our hearts were like the debris field – scattered with insurmountable damage that we couldn’t even BEGIN to know how to fix.
I didn’t know anyone on the planes or anyone in those buildings, but I know that they are important. I know the collective loss felt that day is even more sharp and painful for those who are remembering their loved ones and just how senseless it is that they are no longer here. It’s so senseless. I think if I were in their shoes, I would never want time to distance people from remembering what was lost.
Today I will remember the business travelers, the vacationers who packed their suitcases and walked out the door that morning. I’ll remember the fathers and mothers who kissed little foreheads as they headed out to work. I’ll remember firefighters who saw death and destruction and ran TOWARDS it to help prevent more. I’ll remember first responders who stood strong even as their hearts were breaking. I’ll remember scared souls who had to make “last phone calls.” I’ll remember the brave spirits who decided enough was enough and fought back, sacrificing their own lives. I’ll remember the names and faces I don’t know because I know they matter and they should be here. And someone is still just as devastated today as they were 13 years ago that they aren’t.

 I’ll also remember the sense of unity and pride we all felt as a nation and all the heroes that emerged. We rallied while we were still broken and that was something to experience.
My kids will learn about this through stories and textbooks – a lens that will distance them a bit from the disbelief, fear and grief the day actually brought. But I want to make sure they “remember” also and know really what that day was about. It was a battle between love and hate, goodness and evil, light and darkness. It was a shocking, crushing blow to love, goodness and light, but we all know who wins in the end.
“The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:15
I pray that everyone who hurts today feels the light shining on them. We will never, ever forget.



Monday, July 7, 2014

Just like us.

When Caleb was a baby, he started this quirky little habit of scratching my fingernails. At the time, I thought it was just a funny distinction about him, but NOW that he's older it’s a little … annoying distracting … when he’s scratching my fingernails as I’m trying to focus on something or fall asleep. You can find us saying “please don’t scratch my nail” at any time on any given day, and I have to hand it to the boy – for something that has truly become a habit for him, he surely does try to stop. His other quirky habit is biting his bottom lip, which he has done since he was two. I fear buck teeth and a lifetime of orthodontists bills in our future.

I’m generally not great at seeing how my kids are like us. When people say Kenzie is a mini me, I sort of see it and I sort of don’t. I sometimes see Luke in Caleb’s big eyes and thick lashes. Both kids have such distinct, interesting and sometimes unexpected personality traits that I often find myself thinking, where did they get THAT from?!

But there’s no denying it – they are more like us than we think. Take the chunks of fruit thing. I believe I am the only person I know who can’t eat things with chunks of fruit in them. Apple pie? No way. Yoplait yogurt with the little strawberries in it? I gag at the thought. As a baby, Caleb never knew of this, and yet, when I presented him with his very first spoonful of strawberry yogurt, he took a bite, then proceeded to pick out every strawberry one by one. He doesn’t like fruit in things! Like me! Needless to say, I’ll never be the only “ice cream only please” person at the table when our family has apple pie for dessert.

Then there’s Kenzie. I’m sure over the years we’ll discover more and more ways that she’s just like us. For now, I know she has powerful emotions. When she first sees us after school, she gets so excited that her entire body shakes. Her hugs are big and long and lingering as if she’s trying to demonstrate with one embrace the depth of her love. When she is hurt or disappointed – and these emotions come easily – oh, the big crocodile tears, the eyes shut tight, the mouth frozen wide open to emphasize her pure shock. From what I hear, I was this kind of a child. Sensitive and very attached to people.

And then there are those dark curls of hers. Thanks to me, she’ll be brushing those curls out of her face for the rest of her life. Those kind of confirm that she’s mine.

Both of our kids are surprisingly hilarious. They make up sayings and inside jokes and songs and games. They crack each other up, they crack us up and there is a lot of laughter in our house (which totally makes up for the a lot of crying part). They definitely have a great humor, silliness and  light-heartedness about them. And that is definitely Luke.

They each have parts of us and parts not of us that make them so wonderfully, uniquely them. I hope when they are all grown up, they’ll find that they kept the very best parts of us inside of them and left the rest behind. The truth is I have little control over what I pass on to them and how they’ll develop on their own, but I do know that God is involved in all of it. So I’m reassured.

Last night I was looking at my poorly painted nails while our family watched “Up” on the couch with a bowl of popcorn. I hardly ever paint my nails because I have a habit of picking off my nail polish, one finger at time, until it’s gone. I had successfully picked off the polish on my index and middle finger and decided to start on my ring finger while I had the downtime. This conversation ensued:

Caleb: Why are you doing that?
Me: Because I want to get my nail polish off.
Caleb: Don’t you have something that takes that off?
Me: Yes, nail polish remover. But I like trying to scratch it off myself.
Caleb (after a few moments of watching me scratch my nail polish off): Hey, you’re scratching your own nail! It’s not even me this time!

Oh yeah. That weird habit my son has? I may have it, too.

And as for biting his bottom lip? Let’s just say growing up, I had a retainer, rubber bands, headgear and braces. So it’s not out of the realm of possibility that I may have bit my bottom lip or done some other thing to sabotage myself into obtaining an overbite.  Don’t worry, buddy, mommy will start saving for the best orthodontist in town now – because if you’re anything like me (and you are) – you’ll need it.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014


When you first entered this world waaay back in 1974, who could have ever known that you’d grow up to be the boy who would make this girl’s dreams come true? I certainly didn’t know it when I met you at the Barca Lounge and was mean to you. I figured it out fast, though, and along the way I’ve been able to discover so much about who you are at your core. I see you day in and day out, at your best and worst moments, and I can tell you this: I have never met anyone – ANYONE – more genuine, forgiving, selfless, protective, faithful, strong, loyal, complimentary, thoughtful, loving and funny as YOU. I see it in big ways like how you switched from teacher to solider in an instant, and bravely faced so many unknowns while at the same time trying to comfort everyone back home. And you didn’t even bat an eyelash. It was just in your nature to stay composed, strong and compassionate. And I see it in the more subtle ways like how you always say sorry and I love you, how you drop everything and take over when I’m sick or just need a break, how when I just want to escape you always let me know that you'll run after me as soon as I need you to.

And you see ME day in and day out, at my best and worst moments and somehow you make me feel like I am enough. Even when I feel like I fall short as a parent or friend or employee – you are always there with the kindest words, warmest hugs and most reassuring encouragement. I often find myself saying “what would I do without you?” through tears, and you downplay it, but I truly mean that. You support and love me in the best possible ways. We don’t always get it right, and we are certainly not perfect, but you have set the most wonderful foundation for your family – we see you both as our strongest rock and our softest place to land.

Four years into this parenting thing, I am still amazed daily at how being a dad comes so naturally to you. You value the time we spend with our kids and are always looking for opportunities to show them the beauty of creation, take them on adventures and teach them new and exciting things. I love the true friendship that exists between you and Caleb and I will never know how I got so lucky to have our son have a role model daddy like you.  I love how you are so loving and protective of Kenzie’s heart and how she's a little wrapped around your finger. You pay attention to all the details - making sure every tooth is brushed, that ointment is put on owies, that the right stuffed animals are in their backpacks, that favorite snacks are in the car, that vegetables are eaten, that prayers are said before bed – and so much more. You know ALL the details because you invest so deeply into their lives and care about what makes them tick and what is closest to their hearts. They are so lucky and I live more confidently in this world knowing that they have you as a daddy.

I look at you and the life you have given me and I feel genuinely grateful. Grateful that God brought us together. Grateful that you chose me. Grateful that our families combined. Grateful that everyone who knows you knows you to be a wonderful man. To me, you're the best.

Happy 40th b-day (a couple months late!)


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

big brother jace.

dear jace,

in a matter of days, or maybe even hours, you will enter into a brand new realm. you are going to be a big brother.

and i know exactly how your mama feels.

she is over the moon for you because she knows the fun, loyalty, friendship and unique connection that comes with having a sibling. but she's also scared for you. she's nervous. for two years you've had them all to yourself and they had you - just you - to give their everything to. tears come easily when she thinks you may be a little sad, confused or lonely at first having to share their time and attention with another little person. and she just generally laments that the time with the three of you will soon switch from reality to memory and only be known again through pictures and the permanent etches left on her heart.

but i want to tell you, and her, something. this world you are about to enter is going to be one you are never going to want to leave. well, there may be moments, but they will be fleeting. i personally think you are gonna rock this big brother thing. you are generally good at everything you do, and i don't expect this to be any different. at first the little guy won't do much other than eating and sleeping and maybe crying. you'll either entertain yourself like you are so good at doing, or you'll be interested in everything he does (even if it's not much).

as he grows, you will be the lucky dude that gets to show him the ropes. he will look up to you and want to copy everything you do. it's a big responsibility, jace, to show your brother how to grow up to be the best little man he can be. i'd say this little guy is pretty lucky to have a big brother like you to pave the way for him.

to your mom, i want to say, i KNOW. i know your heart is completely twisted and your emotions are all over the place. you so want jace to know how important he is - how the immense love you feel for his little brother was never and will never be borrowed from the immense love you have for him. i want to tell you that he'll get it. he'll always know he's loved and special because you and owen are incredible parents and you'll never stop showing him. and never forget that grace is always, always swirling around.

having two is hard and wonderful, tiring and invigorating, and more magical than your most vivid dreams could have ever shown you. you are giving jace a gift - a lifelong buddy and an unbreakable bond.

there will be moments when they are arguing, telling on each other or not sharing and you will want to rip your hair out and run away from home without even stopping to put on your shoes. i wont lie.

but oh man. you are going to see jace touch his baby's brother's face for the first time. and hold him and smile at him and talk to him in a gentle little baby voice. you'll see him teaching baby barton to use a spoon and helping you pack the diaper bag and telling you not to forget his favorite binky. before you know it, you'll see jace showing him how to do a puzzle, count to ten and play hide and go seek. they will chat in the backseat of the car and enterain themselves with their silly games and inside jokes. they will sing at the top of their lungs to songs they made up, race down the halls at top speed and splash each other at bath time.

when the sun sets on a lazy summer day, you will see the silhouette of two little people skipping rocks on the beach and you won't be able to imagine one without the other - and you won't believe how your heart was able to contain the same, limitless love for them both.

it will take your breath away.

i love you guys. and i can't wait.