These are unprecedented days, but I won't insult your intelligence by summarizing what we have all been living through for the last 4 months. You already know, you already get it.

Lately, the preeminent conversation amongst my circle of people is the one of school choice for the upcoming year. And wow, what a discussion. All the options and opinions floating out there will make your head spin.

Spoiler alert: I'm not going to add one more opinion to the mix. I don't know if you should choose option 1, 2, or 3, or if you should homeschool, or if you should send them to private school. (Nobody likes to be "should-ed" on anyways, am I right?!)

But I am going to encourage you to remember a few things as you consider your options and ultimately make the decision you feel the Lord is leading your family into:

1) This decision doesn't have to last forever. 

Seems obvious enough, but in the heat of decision making, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that you aren't chained to this decision for the rest of your life. If it's not working for you or your child, or new options open up for you down the road that will be better for everyone, you can change your mind. Don't overcomplicate. Make the best decision for the right now you find yourself in.

2) Don't give yourself too much credit.

In these pressure filled days, we can be led to make a decision with an impaired sense of perspective. Let me let you in on something: Whatever decision you make is not going to send your children down an unalterable trajectory. To think otherwise is to ultimately place yourself in the seat of sovereignty that only God occupies. You aren't in control. May you find some freedom in the truth of that.

3) Who you are as you make this decision is more important than the actual decision.

Your children are watching from the front row as you navigate these choices.  And while, yes, your decision is important, don't lost sight of what is most important. In a world where fear is predominant, you have been given an unprecedented opportunity to show your children what it actually looks like to trust God, to have peace that passes all understanding, and to relinquish your perceptions of control.  In the hearts of your children, this too shall last long after any pandemic has passed.

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Bonus: Don't lose sight that the very fact that we have choices is an evidence of the privilege we live in. I've met momma's all over the world who are consumed with surviving. Food, clean water, and maintaining a roof over their heads occupy their days. This doesn't minimize your situation or decision, but hopefully re-orients your perspective to one of gratefulness and the inherent abundance we are living in, despite the weirdness of this season.

A Haitian private school, 2018




Image result for image of in remembrance

She would have turned 10 this week.


In our family, for your 10th birthday you get to choose between a go-all-out friends party or a day trip experience (think Amusement park, etc.) with just the family. Ella chose a friends party, the boys chose the adventure, and we probably won't know what Zoe will choose until the day before.

It's always the not knowing that stops me: What would Myla have chosen? Friends or adventure? Cake or cobbler or pie? Would she have been into books or animals or art or sports or...

It's such a strange hollow feeling to miss someone you never knew.

I'm reminded, that walking into this week, I must drink again from the stream of sorrow that cannot be fully remedied in this life.

And yet, I do not want these lingerings of grief to be eased, for in them I see the sureness of the presence of God - I feel Him weeping with me. In them is found a sweetness. A gift to hold thoughts of her. She is not forgotten.

Her short life still bears impact: the beginning of my re-making into a Christ-follower more sympathetic, more compassionate, and deeply more conscious of my frailty and daily dependence upon Jesus; as one more invested in the hope of  the resurrection of the body and the return of the King, than ever before.

My dear Myla,

     My heart treasures you and the short time I held you in my body. 
You are missed and loved and remembered.

Always,

Your Momma

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There are many things that can only be seen through eyes that have cried.
- Archbishop Oscar Romero

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
- Psalm 34:18

Eli.
Started strong. Quietly enthusiastic in his quintessential Eli way. Half way up.
A glance down. 
Recognition of how high he is slowly spreads all over his face. 
Upward motion halted. Need to come down apparent.
Stuck.
Unable to let go. One hand gripping at all times.
Watch the others come down, all the others, with his very own eyes.
Others offer encouragement, you-can-do-it's, and eventually...pleadings.
Still stuck.
Paralyzed.

Me.
Started strong. Nothing but patience. We've come so far.
Heart hurts that he feels stuck.
Hate that he feels anxious, fear.
Mingled with pride...look how high up he got!
More patience. Some pleadings.
I know he will get down.
It'll just be on his terms, his time...or when his arms give out.
And I'll be here for the landing.
I'll always be here.
My role as his mom played out in this: I provided the experience, the lesson, the equipment, the encouragement, and a pair of eyes to watch.
He has to climb. He has to trust. And, eventually...he has to jump.
I just hope to get to see it with my very own eyes.

Conclusion.
He did it. 
He let go.
We high-fived.
I asked what he was feeling up there. 
He answered...anxious. 
I answered...I understand.
We come up with a plan. Try again. This time only climb to a lower level.
He did it. 
And did it again, one handhold higher.
And again. And again. And again.
Hands blistered. 
Time to rest.
Pride felt, by both of us. 
More than walls were scaled today.
I'm just so very thankful I got to see it with my very own eyes.





I've seen a lot of sauntering into 2019,
messages of work harder, 
do better,
be your best self, ever,
B.A.M.

At first glance it seems good,
positive,
inspiring, maybe?

Yet, I know the truth of those stories. 
They ring hollow,
for they rely on...well, me

And I know me.
I've been let down by me more times than I can count.
I've been disappointed by me more than I'd care to admit.

Here's my true story,
not exactly Instagram-worthy, but what I've come to know as trustworthy, 
solid, and that which will never ring hollow.

My prayer and cry as I welcomed this new year...

Gently reveal the lies,
bring the false stories to the surface,
for though I appear capable on the outside:

In myself I do not have the strength 
or the wisdom or the ability
to accomplish the tasks to which I am called for this new year of life.

Apart from the very Spirit of God breathing life
into my incomplete and sin-tainted efforts,
apart from the Father blessing and 
multiplying
my inadequate offerings,
apart from my Lord meeting me
in my stumbling attempts at faithfulness,
no good work will come to fruition,
no achievement will endure,
no lasting benefit will come of my labors.

And so I must come repeatedly
to the end of trust in my own strength,
that I may avail myself
again and again of His strength.

- Every Moment Holy


I am seen and loved,
fully known,
given a ministry, a message,
surprised with a joy I cannot explain,
even on the darkest of days...
Give me the courage to show up as myself in 2019. 
For I am one desperately living in my weakness and resting in His power.

This. Is. My. Truest. Story.

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness," Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weakness, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9





Posterity  - noun
succeeding or future generations collectively:
A photographer recorded the scene for posterity.

December 2018:
Holiday Vintage Ball, 
Holiday visits to and from grandparents,
the BIG SNOW,
Christmas Farm lights,
Christmas dates,
trips to the river,
Gingerbread showdown with our life group,
time for finishing long overdue baby books,
Ugly Sweater Christmas party,
cherishing old recipes,
and moments of quiet, creativity, and reflection.

 



December is past.
A month with the propensity for hurry, for busy, for filling...
Parties, shopping, baking, wrapping, decorating, traveling,
and lots and lots (and lots) of family togetherness.
Good things.

And yet, my soul can feel overstuffed.
Like my house when I let the clutter pile up.
When I let the things take over.

It's time to make room.
To de-clutter.
To allow space in my soul...
for sitting down,
for noticing,
and for worship.

And so, we went down to the river.
We took time to sit.
And notice.
And worship.

Making room for the new things,
the new year,
and mostly, resting in the God who never changes.