It’s been more than a year since I found a moment to share the words of my heart through this forum; unbelievable to think that a year has past already!  I remember being a teenager and thinking my life would NEVER really start.  Now, many years later, my life has indeed started and is in fact passing so quickly.  I have a teenager who is sprouting like a weed and three more following closely in his footsteps.  LIFE IS BUSY!  It’s the kind of busy that is amazingly rewarding but also keeps you from stopping to smell the roses without purposeful steps.

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It has been an incredibly long time since I blogged and honestly it’s not for lack of thoughts or happenings in my life but really more about time, not really feeling much like sharing and maybe just giving the whole blog thing a break when more important things need to be focused on.  However, this week has been interesting.  Full of inner turmoil and so many thoughts in my head.  If you are reading this, I guess I did decide to share it but there is a small part of me that wants to keep it for myself because not everything has be shared publicly right and it’s an unfinished, unanswered part of my life journey?!  But we share so we can learn, share so we can support each other, share so others may know they are not alone in how they feel, or share for the sake of making a difference.

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I took up reading this book as I was finishing my Teacher Education Program.  I knew I would have quite a bit of spare time on my hands through the summer being finished my schooling and recognizing that I was likely not going to be working until September.  So I decided on a book that was non-fiction, a subject I’ve been contemplating, struggling with for quite a period of time now and it would ease me out of the life of being a full-time student as I began summer vacation with my kids.

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Someone asked me that today.  It was a heartbreaking question in the wake of a tragic circumstance.  Both of us sitting on the sidelines of someone else’s tragedy but feeling the soul-crushing loss deep in our own souls because we live in community and we share each other’s burdens.

It doesn’t end, my dear.  But it changes for those of us on the sidelines.  Our heart scars bear testimony to what we witnessed and life goes on.  What changes is the pit in our stomach goes away and the memory of the tragedy doesn’t haunt us in every moment.  We daily are reminded, often in the little things, because it’s impossible to forget.  The tears don’t flow every time we relive the moments but the heaviness remains in the memories.

Sometimes I remember something about that day or week or month and my mind relives the entire process.  Sometimes it stretches that scar enough to make it hurt and other times it feels like the pain of a wound reopened.  It’s never far from my mind, easily retrieved from the corners of my mind to be understood and not understood all at one time.

Sometimes it’s in the witness of another’s circumstance that we are brought back to the gut-wrenching knowledge of our own loss.  But as time passes we are able to pick ourselves up much quicker.  To find the joy in the places we know we can, to continue with the life we’ve been given.

I felt that today after the question had been asked.  I stood in the pew in our morning worship service, thankful as always to be surrounded by people I love and who love me.  My children crowded into the chairs beside and in front of me.  Sunday mornings are often mornings of remembrance for me.  I still can’t define why this is the case but I often find myself thinking of little Ryker as I worship.  This morning my heart was full but he wasn’t far from my mind.  Then a dear friend shared her heart.  She shared of God’s mercy in the midst of tragedy and I was thankful for the reminder.  But seconds later I felt the opening of my heart as my youngest son, hurdled the chairs in front of me, into my arms and sobbed, great heaving sobs into my chest.  He felt it too.  The reopening of a that wound, the recognition that suffering on this earth doesn’t ever end.

We find joy because God has shown us mercy but the sorrow never ends.  It just changes.  It is there for us to give back to Him daily.  To live with the peace that one day it will be taken from us.  But until that day it reminds us that we cannot travel this earth alone.  It brings us back to His feet, seeking comfort.

Dear friend, it will end the day we come face to face with our Creator and alongside those gone before us, are able to lay ourselves at His feet.

I had this great moment of realization and reassurance awhile back.

My oldest was asked to babysit for a friend.  Her boys are at just the right age for his first experiences babysitting for someone other than his siblings all on his own.  I was impressed to see how enthusiastic he was in this adventure and her boys were happy to have a “boy babysitter”!  The thing is that I recognize how rare of an opportunity this is.  No matter how much of a natural instinct boys have for caring for children it is always going to be the girls that will get a call to babysit first.  I get it…when Sam and Jake were still young enough that they needed a sitter and the girls were just little I didn’t feel quite comfortable having another young man in the house to make sure they got into their jammies, tucked them in and give them a snuggle if they needed it.  Somehow that worked okay for a young woman to take care of those things with my boys but not the other way around.  Having said that I have met a few guys over the last few years that I may have reconsidered for and my experience as a momma of older boys has given me some perspective on that as well.

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Living with the blur

We all know there are times when you just aren’t sure exactly what the plan is and you don’t even know where to start to figure it out.  I feel a little like that these days.  I have nothing to complain about in the big picture of things so I won’t do that, but I do often wonder what the bigger picture actually looks like.  This week has already been amazingly interesting and it was only Tuesday night when I started this and it’s only gotten more intriguing, although, I guess in fairness there isn’t much in my life that’s just quiet and slow-paced.  Most of my life is lived in a bit of a blur and while I know there is constant encouragement from various places to just slow down and live in the moment I literally feel like this stage of my life is somewhat out of my control when it comes to the pace.  I know I can choose to add things or not but quite frankly there is little I can take away at this point.

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Lately I’ve been thinking about why my life is what it is!  Sounds like a deep question right, but honestly it’s not!  The last few weeks, in particular the loss of my sweet nephew, the changes happening in my career and schooling, and some changes happening at James’ work, have got me thinking about how my perspective has shifted.  It’s little things I notice here and there, nothing major or dramatic but little moments that 2 months ago may have put me over the edge that NOW just cause me to shrug my shoulders and keep plodding forward.

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THE WORDS OF OUR HEARTS

Ryker's HandIn times of deep sorrow it would seem a wonderful blessing if the tears that fall could speak the words of our heart.  Alas that is not the case and we are left to use mere words to share the moments, thoughts, and memories to explain the pain that settles in the soul.  Today if my tears could speak they would ask questions.  Why?  Why now?  Why at all?  Why this?  The list of “why” questions would be abundant, seemingly never ending.  But in the quiet lack of response our minds grasp that the questions will remain unanswered, that the anguish and loneliness will settle deep in our souls and be a companion for a time.

I share a tiny piece of this story.  The loss of sweet, sweet dreams and a lifetime of “if onlys”.  The bigger story and deeper pain, the reality of lives forever altered and joys ripped away is borne by two individuals that I love deeply.  One who shares the bond of family ties and the other who chose that bond out of love and commitment.  Joel and Meghan have graced the pages of this blog before.  They exchanged their wedding vows on our 11th wedding anniversary and watching their life together take shape has been wonderful.  In so many ways all the things they have planned have come together so flawlessly.  May 20th will be etched on our minds as a day that flawless became flawed.

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Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”!  For those who do not believe in God or the bible and for those who are struggling in their faith right now those words probably feel like a slap-in-the-face.  I acknowledge that because as a believer who feels growth in my relationship with God I too feel like this passage is immensely hard to grasp.

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hymn-bookAnd so the debate continues….Really to my mind such a ridiculous discussion that we have allowed to taint the times we have of praise with scowls and sourpuss faces.  Silly expressions, you say?  What I find truly remarkable, and even silly, is the type of discord that we allow to filter into our places and times of worship!  Hmmm, I guess my inside voice just snuck out:(  It makes me sad watching different generations react to certain genres of music with distain and dislike.  The thing is that we’re all guilty of it to some degree…if we’re really honest there have been times when we’ve sat in a service with our hands crossed like a small child, mad because we didn’t get our way.  I’ve watched it…I’ve seen the older fellow across the aisle with his nose turned up at the overly repetitious chorus that “really doesn’t say anything at all”.  In the same service I’ve looked on my other side to see the younger person standing with their arms folded and their eyes rolling at the completely “old-fashioned” lyrics to that hymn that “sounds like it dropped right out of the 1800’s”.  Heck I’ve even closed my eyes and viciously fought the temptation to plug my ears when the strains of a southern gospel tune hits my eardrums.  There is no denying that we all have various tastes in music and our minds process the beauty of notes threaded together in very different ways.

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