The sibling dance party, in five

31 March 2012


"Wait guys, I have an idea," he says.

There is a pause, brief still silence, before the music. And the squealing. And, what I can only assume is wiggling and dancing. They're laughing and singing.

"Hey, watch this!"

"Did you see that?!"

Minor bumps and crashes come from the small room at the end of the hall. I'm assuming no injuries.

We do dance parties in this house. Arcade Fire and Mumford and Veggie Tales and Backyardigans. We hold hands and twirl. We jump and hug. We fall on the floor silly and dizzy.

The music has stopped.

"Wait guys, I have an idea."

He makes a stage and shows them their places on his bed. And he sings, for at least the 83rd time, the Addams Family theme song, a reprise from his concert earlier this week. No music, no discernable melody, a few finger snaps. And they eat it up. They love him. He is the big brother, and he gives them good gifts.


1. Write for 5 minutes flat – 
no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back to GypsyMama and invite others to join in.
3. Please visit the person who linked up before you and encourage them in their comments.

Figuring Out Equally Shared Parenting : Gender roles, shmender roles

29 March 2012

What we have is special.

That's how we, the husband and I, feel. From the day we got married, till last night "spooning at a distance" in bed, we know that what we have is special.

We are also kind of weird.

That's how we have felt as parents and coworkers in full-time ministry who, for the last 5 years, have been a stay-at-home, work-from-home, and work-out-of-the-home family, doing almost all of it together. Once we discovered a name for it - Equally Shared Parenting - we began to feel not so weird. And while we're still working out the kinks, I wanted to share a bit about what we do at home, why we do it, and how.

matt karen march 2007

Gender roles, shmender roles...

When we became engaged, we filled out this wonderful workbook on saving our marriage (before it starts). One area of assessment was on gender roles, and I distinctly remember having a good laugh and saying to Matt: "I was raised by a single mom. Good luck with all that!"

And in response, he said something akin to, "Have you seen my pots and pans collection?"

From the get-go, we've split household chores up. Matt loved to cook, and I tolerated laundry. He wrote the checks, and I balanced them. Together we'd make the house a mess, and together we'd eventually get around to cleaning it up. He volunteers at the boy's school, while I accompany the girl on her field trips. It isn't always equal, but it is almost always fair.

Like everything else, this has evolved over time (currently, Matt handles all the finances while I handle all the nagging him about it). There have been times when one of us has done more at home - when Matt worked two jobs, for instance, so I could stay at home with a new baby; or recently when each of us has taken on more work to make ends meet between here and Ireland - but eschewing traditional gender roles in favour of trying to serve eachother and enjoy a partnership has been our default philosophy. And mostly, with great flexibility, it works.

Next week I'll share about parenting for rookies and how we learned to mix it up in times of transition.

Have you heard of Equally Shared Parenting? Is your family/home-life somewhat unorthodox? Can you confirm that we are, in fact, totally weird?

We'll be just fine

28 March 2012

It's our first day of spring, just the two of us. Big kids are back in school and the air smells like life and we have the whole day to play.

We load up the van with stroller and fruit snacks and bottles of water, and before we even cross the bridge, I hear snoring behind me. Of course, he sleeps now, and I think how smart I was to pack Bible and notebook for just in case. I think of a spot in the shade, where the view is green and the city is near, excited for a few minutes of peace and meditation. On the road next to the art gallery, I stop, smile, and turn off ignition.

"Playground?!" he yells still half asleep. The spell is broken.

No amount of coaxing or shushing will close his eyes, so I give in. "Oh yeah, right, yes, playground. Let's go."

I turn the ignition and drive to where the rich people walk and sip coffee on the sidewalk. This'll do just fine, I think. We'll be just fine.


What Peeta and Bill Self have in common

26 March 2012


I'm a little behind this week and still dealing with a minorly sick kiddo (should I be concerned about a lingering low-grade fever 2 weeks after croup attack?) and also watching a lot of basketball (Rock Chalk, Jayhawk!), as well as seeing this little unknown indie movie called The Hunger Games. In between all that, here's what got me thinking this week:

Amy Simpson :: What The Hunger Games Taught Me (and the Church Should Have) about Men
Why was Peeta’s love so compelling? Partly because he’s a wonderful character, partly because love is always compelling, and partly because I have issues. I have a hard time believing that men have the capacity to be genuinely loving.
The Kansas City Star :: Self has shaped the Jayhawks into muscle
Bill Self took this job only after his father called him soft. There is so much of the coach in this story. Nine years ago, with Roy Williams’ shadow still very much engulfing Kansas basketball, Self was unsure he wanted to deal with all of that.
Jamie the Very Worst Missionary :: Hugs for Jesus
Eventually, one of them found her way over to where we were sitting to offer a Jesus hug. Being a non-toucher, in general, I quickly declined. “No, thank you. I'm....I'm good.” And when my sweet, affection-loving friend finally relented to the poor girl's persistent (insistent?) offer to give her a hug from Jesus, I knew immediately that I had made the right decision.
The Tiny Twig :: How to Have Awesome Bangs
Oh! And, Megan said not to wear heavy bangs with a side-part…it’s just too much going on. It’s best to have your heavy bangs and then let your hair fall naturally from the crown of your head. [me: this bit of advice will change my life!]
 Rachel Held Evans :: "Will you always believe in Jesus, Mama?"
I paused, trying to decide how much of my backstory would be helpful. How could I explain that the doubts that had once made me an agnostic hadn’t completely resolved, but that I’d instead learned to embrace mystery and ambiguity? How could I tell him that sometimes it still felt to me that God wasn’t there either?

In the end, I chose a simple response. “Yes, buddy. Always. I’m in this for good. I don’t always understand everything, but I’ve chosen to follow Jesus.”
So did you see the Hunger Games? Did your favorite basketball team win or lose? What have you been reading?

The ladies don't mind, in five

23 March 2012



It's been awhile since we sat around this table, sharing stories and pistachios. Life gets in the way and we have babies and work and the carpool lane, so we cancel and wait and try again. The stars align and reunite around a hard day dark with thunder. One feels a burden and we stop on the spot and ask for grace.

This is how we do it. This is how we keep going. This is how we pray.

Going around the table, we catch up. We split a cupcake and make room for seconds. We tell jokes and I laugh too loud and the baby cries. I'm so sorry, I say. I'm so loud. No really, my voice carries and babies cry. She shushes me in the best way, oh don't worry, she says, it's not you. She leaves for a minute and he calms down and sweet silence flows over our meal.

We are sisters once again, made family because of Jesus. And we keep talking and eating and I laugh again, loudly.  It feels so good to laugh, to be loud, to have friends who want to know, who feel the pains and the joys.

I wait for the cry, but no baby this time. He's asleep and we smile.


1. Write for 5 minutes flat – 
no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back to GypsyMama and invite others to join in.
3. Please visit the person who linked up before you and encourage them in their comments.

10 books I'm currently not finishing, part 3

21 March 2012

Well, we have finally (after much procrastination) reached the stunning conclusion of my groundbreaking series, 10 books I'm currently not finishing. Oh, I made a button!

My nightstand is getting pretty full these days with books I want to read, have just started, or am on the cusp of finishing. Still gracing my shelf: Culture Making by Andy Crouch, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller, and Crazy Love by Francis Chan. I fully intend on finishing these, but... well... you know the drill.

Anyway, I've added a few to this collection, thanks to dear friends who pass on their favorites or online giveaways or library binges. So without further ado...

How We Are Hungry, by Dave Eggers :: Our friend Tom, in Ireland, sent this to me. He heaps love on our little family by surprising us with paperback packages on our doorstep every few of months, and this one is no different. It's been ages since I've read a book of short-stories and I nearly forgot how much I love them, ruminate on them, and come back to them. I'm three stories in and am finding that Eggers is as much versatile in prose as he is relevant (the most haunting so far: What It Means When a Crowd in a Faraway Nation Takes a Soldier Representing Your Own Nation, Shoots Him, Drags Him from His Vehicle and Then Mutilates Him in the Dust). When I have a few minutes of solitude or a hungry heart, I find myself picking this little book up again and spending a few minutes with Dave, and by extension, with Tom.

The Money Saving Mom's Budget, by Crystal Paine :: I was so excited to win this in a giveaway on Homemade Ginger. My friend Megan runs the show over there and is amazing at passing on frugal tips and creative homemaking adventures. Seeing as how I'm not super awesome at the homemaking thing yet, but how we are pursuing to live simply on less in transition and beyond, this book came at the perfect time. After reading the first chapter, I've been skimming through some of her lists and tips and am happy to see we've already made some budget-friendly changes, while still being challenged to try more (this has gone hand-in-hand with my new venture in menu planning).

You Can't Make Me [but I can be persuaded], by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias :: I'm not sure if you've realized this yet, but 2 out of 3 of my children are strong-willed. With this book I'm learning more how to interact with them instead of yelling at or crying with them. I've been hop-skipping through chapters depending on what the current need or issue is, and while Cynthia talks a lot about older strong-willed children, I think I can glean a thing or two about training the younger ones in the ways they should go. I think I'll be keeping this book with me for a long time as the girl veers towards eventual scary tweendom... oh, how I fear those days!

And there you have it, the 10 books I'm currently not finishing! I hope you've discovered something that you can... wait, that's not 10? That's only 9 books? So it's actually the 9 books I'm currently not finishing... Hmm... well... I guess that's par for the course.

What are you currently not finishing?

An open call for topics, ideas or general merriment

19 March 2012


It has been decided (by me and the above Princess Captain America) that the blog needs some fresh ideas that don't involve me crying over spilled milk (both figuratively and literally), croup, or the only one thing that always has been and always will be banned from my blog: cooking. And I also need a distraction from dwelling on our storage issue.

So this is your chance to offer up some fun and/or informative questions, ideas, burdens, or controversies.

Lay 'em on me.

Anniversaries & Possessions (a re-post)

"I'm thinking we shouldn't take anything when we go."

I said this to the husband today after days and weeks of pondering it, knowing it, and daring it to be said aloud. First, some background:

This weekend we took 24 hours off from parenthood to celebrate our 12th wedding anniversary and hang out unhindered and fancy-free in a city we love: our current one. It was great: we walked, had dinner, saw a movie, slept in, and then we went to the City Market for our favourite childless activity: sitting down in a coffeeshop for actual talking.

Sitting across from husband I said this without knowing I would.

"I'm thinking we shouldn't take anything when we go. I don't want to send a crate. I want to leave it all behind."

We hadn't been talking about Ireland much today, still not knowing exactly how and when we'll get back, but knowing for sure that God is leading us back. It hadn't even been on my mind, but for some reason, in that place, this divinely planted wish came tumbling out, and I knew in my heart it was right.

Then came the smile and "I was thinking the same thing" and "I feel free" and "Ireland seems closer now." But also, "We still have to ship my tools" and my knowing nod as I recognize the distinction between what we need for ministry and what we use for comfort.

See, before, when we just took a few things in a large crate that ended up weighing a lot and costing as much as a 20-foot container, I felt jipped. I wanted everything, all my things, all my furniture, everything that said "mine, mine, mine" to go with me to Ireland. Everyone else got to, I said. All of our coworkers took everything, some took more than everything. But it came to be that we took less, and I resented giving those things up. When we came back, and all my things I'd left behind were here waiting for me, I felt vindicated. My rocking chair, my dresser, my table... still "mine, mine, mine."

And yet... the shine was gone. The wood chipped. The imperfections I hadn't remembered, or purposely glossed over, were still there. I sit in my brown club chair now and am happy to have had it here, relieved that it was not so hard to make another home here because of all we left behind, but that's all it is.

A chair I sit in.

Or a table we eat at.

There's no reason to take it with us. It won't make us happier. It won't enable us to love better. And it won't make things easier: the packing and the shipping and the cost of it all. There's no reason - no value to it - that equals the amount we would pay to take something that says "mine" over the sea. I will not be the person that spends thousands of dollars - not just dollars, but investments from people I cherish and admire, who have chosen to love us and Ireland through their support - on a container full of things.

And so our family purpose statement rears it's head. It's our goal and our road map. It points us home and points us heavenward. And it makes this decision, this tiny little sacrifice easier.

Value people over things.

This didn't come from me, or from us. It's what He would have us do, so there's nothing holding us back from being all there, here, or wherever.

It will still be hard, I know, to say goodbye to things that were here at the beginning of "us" and to which we came home. I'm not even really looking forward to it. And I'm sure I'll be annoyed at husband for shipping literal tools for ministry but leaving the framed mirror w/hooks he built for me behind.

But... there's a storage unit on the other side of the sea, with the odds and ends we brought or collected to make a new home. They wait for us to return - not to them, but to the people that inhabited them and visited us there and laughed at the table and closed eyes at the prayers. They want nothing to hold us back.

And yeah, it does seem closer now.

{though apparently not too close... a re-post from last June, in light of recent events}


Have you had to begrudgingly give up anything recently (apart from Lent)?

"We could not calculate directions..."

18 March 2012

I am in a wicked state of Not Awesome.

Our belongings in Ireland are being evicted. The storage facility - which is housing the possessions we first took to Ireland and stored for safekeeping when we left for home assignment - has gone bankrupt, is closing up shop, and our things have to be removed asap. As in next week. As in 10 days from now.

And, you know, we are like an incalculable distance away.

"We could not calculate directions between Kansas City, MO and Dublin, Co. Dublin, Ireland."

Steps need to be taken, on the phone and in person, and while we try to coordinate with friends on the field and new storage companies, we are struggling to make 2 + 2 = my wedding photos don't get shipped up the River Liffey.

I tell husband, "It took too long! We're not even there and we're being kicked out of the country!" To which he replies: "No, this is God making a way. He's doing something, opening something up, giving others an opportunity to help. This is Him."

Yes, I think, probably all very true (just in the last two weeks friends have offered us homes to rent there, even though we aren't quite there yet). But I wish He'd let me in on the plan and show me the directions because I am super lost on the journey today. That storage unit was a symbol of our life there, still existing in some form, beckoning us to return and make our home.

Today it feels almost gone.


For your reading pleasure...


What I've found, read, and learned from this week:

Jamie the Very Worst Missionary :: The Tourist Gospel (from February, but I'm counting it)
So, all of this has got me thinking about what happens when, as Christians, we let ourselves be so far “set apart” from the world that we end up looking like a bunch of tourists, instead of the ones with the answers.
Her.Meneutics :: The Best Naked Pregnant Woman on a Magazine Cover
I bet that plenty of readers will see this cover and still think Jessica Simpson should be ashamed. Certainly some will read this piece and believe that I should be ashamed! But I choose to see this cover—this beautiful picture of a naked and pregnant woman—as an Edenic reprieve from the shame that women are saddled with.
Olive Tree :: Birthday Suit in a Turkish Bath (another oldie from February, but so good)
When it was our turn we laid our towels on the slab.  My bath attendant came up and motioned for me to take off my bathing suit. 
“I can’t do the body scrub with your bathing top on,” she said. Scary. 
I took a deep breath, and actually took off my top.  Amazingly I didn’t die from embarrassment. 
mama:monk :: Because grace is brave and it always wins
You’re 16-years-old and the boy who kisses you beside the light blue Chevy Spectrum under the moon has berry-thick boy lips, his knuckles rough and cut from punching walls. He is all man, you think. And somewhat good. Becoming better.

What did you read and discover this week?

Am I really already amazing?

15 March 2012

My discerning heart and my critical spirit spend loads of time duking it out with eachother, trying to see who will say uncle first. I like to think that I come to new books with a discerning heart, but more often than not my critical spirit gets there first and it can take chapters to put that spirit in its place and discover the true, beating heart of the author's message.

And in You're Already Amazing, it took me till chapter 5. Keep reading...


On not being the very worst, when you were afraid you were.

14 March 2012

It's quiet in the house (boy is gone with husband, wee lad is asleep, the girl is at school - yes, her spring break is not this week but next week. duh. of course). I should be working on the bazillion St. Patrick's Day cards we'll be sending out to our ministry partners a/k/a Support Squad a/k/a Prayer Posse, but instead I'm perusing a site I recently discovered and only just now had the chance to sit and read:

Yep, this blog exists. And sadly, it is not written by me. I regret to inform you that the bad missionary blog niche is taken, so I'll just have to keep posting here as a lazy mom, missionary, and occasional freelance writer addicted to diet coke who isn't so great at transitional homemaking but tries hard anyway, sometimes.

But all that to say is: I'm so glad this blog exists because I really thought it was only just me. I really thought that I was the only person in the world who has found herself in ministry, doesn't know how she got there, lives for it and stresses about it and is slightly afraid of it, and also hates to ask people for money. But I'm not! There's someone worse than me! But she's also gorgeous, too, so I'm assuming that her being the very worst missionary is predicated on this fact. So, I mean really, she can't be expected to excel at everything.

My cousin Danielle and I, both missionaries, but Danielle is much higher on the scale than I am.
Because she lives in Africa. And homeschools. And is just all around amazing. True story.

So I salute you, Jamie @ The Very Worst Missionary. You are funny, smart, and braver than I to let the world in on your little secret with such aplomb and grace. Though I would've gone the anonymous route, but whatever. Sincerely, Your newest fan and Sis in Christ, Karen @ The River Into Words (soon to be trademarked).

On sick days we hold one another.

13 March 2012

On sick days we hold one another. Sticky, chubby fingers find mine as he breathes (not so easily), in... and out... Croup has come to roost in our too-small-for-a-sick-coughing-crying-toddler apartment and I spend most of the day in bed. With him. Watching Barney against my will, but contentedly succumbing my hand and heart to his sad need for comfort.

Is there nothing worse than this, your child in pain? For however long or however it hurts. Any old hurt, really. A missed-out game or a straight-to-bed. A boy who longs for fresh air and playgrounds but remains sequestered under the quilt and sipping water. They trade off hurts all day long and I hurry from one to the next with kisses and band-aids.

So today, in between whimpers, we hold on. I remember that this is where it's at: being there for them when it hurts. This is good and right. Dishes in the sink, work on the table, clothes on the floor... they are nothing compared to this. A mother doing nothing but sitting by her child's side.

I see he's safe and resting and I get up to go. "No, mommy here," he croaks. So I lie down next to him and he smiles, pain-free for the moment. Sticky, chubby fingers back where they belong.

A good 'ole smack upside the head

12 March 2012


And this is how God smacked me upside the head:
I didn't plan past the new year. When well-organized teachers sent home well-prepared calendars at the start of September, I wrote down the pertinent information in my own well-meaning way, all the way till December 31, 2011.

Oh, we won't be here, I thought. There will be new schools and new calendars and if I don't acknowledge a 2012 that exists in Kansas City, God will see my sign of faith and reward me with fulfillment of the long-awaited return to Ireland.

My first clue that something was amiss should've been when my child informed me that Spring Break was less than a week away. (Stupid empty calendar.) We quick write it down, making plans and figuring out how this will all work - three kiddos all at home all week and a newly hectic and stressful work and ministry schedule, which it always tends to be right before St. Patrick's Day.

Which brings me to Wednesday.

We are on our way to a get-together with new friends that evening. We've rescheduled and rainchecked, waiting for schedules to align and illnesses to pass. We are packing some homemade bread and a bottle of wine, turning down the road, when an advert pops on the radio: Paddy's Day is coming and our city celebrates and we remember.

The Chieftains. Two tickets. That night. In ten minutes.

A generous Christmas present for two homesick former residents of the Emerald Isle, in the brand-new freaking unbelievably gorgeous opera house that adorns the KC skyline. When we received them, I looked at the date and thought, oh, this will be amazing... if we're still here. I kept the tickets in a safe place, not bothering to write it down or shop for an outfit or plan the romantic date night.

We look at one another in shock, having each been smacked upside the head by our loving Father.

It never even occurred to me that holding out for the future was disabling me from living in the present. (Still! Even after I spent my whole 31 days writing about and learning from it.) Life is happening and we are willfully ignoring it. So caught up in waiting and planning, we were missing the living. Too good to be here, where we are, for however long we are here. More than ready to stop, drop and roll right on out of here when He gives the signal. Forgetting about the little people who share this life, the friends who walk alongside us on the path, the beautiful gifts given to help us on the journey.


So we call the friends, "We are the worst!" I say, and she graciously understands. We u-turn and find the tickets and do a quick costume change. We arrive 30 minutes late and uproot a dozen Irish-American retirees from their seats to find our own. We watch and listen in wonder at the music that has followed us and beckoned us for our entire marriage.

We see them dance and we both cry. Because in the waiting to go, Ireland came to us and we feel alive. Without saying a word, we agree to put a little effort into the living, so as to not be 30 minutes late anymore.

The week(ish) in review

10 March 2012

this picture is unrelated to anything below, but i like it. the end.

Here's what's been keeping me up late at night, bringing some tears, making me eat ice cream, and growing my heart:

so much shouting, so much laughter :: words like weapons (forget not your name)
A porn-soaked culture values
sexy, submissive, and available;
a bar set canyon low and
unreachable all the same.
He hated her more than he loved her
Her.meneutics :: What the 'After-Birth Abortion' and 'Personhood' Debates Have in Common
However, chief among the satire’s many objects of correction (for correction is the purpose of true satire) is rationalism, a worldview that depends entirely—like the journal article—on human reason at the expense of human emotion, human spirit, and human love—let alone eternal principles that transcend even these.
IRL* in real life with Jamie Jo :: Furlough Boot Camp: Getting the Lil' Soldiers Ready
I'll never forget the time we went up with one teen and his big ol' afro, and other teen with his long stringy hair. It was still a struggle to not consider "What will people think?" but I forced myself to look at it from God's standpoint. No sin was being committed. Their hearts were good. Why should I require a haircut just to please our conservative support base?
Rachel Held Evans :: Rush Limbaugh and three evangelical blindspots
This is the blind spot that allows some of the same Christians who refuse to watch R-rated movies to suspend their judgment as Rush Limbaugh makes crass, vulgar, racist, misogynistic, and homophobic remarks on his radio show. So long as he’s speaking the truth about politics, they seem to reason, it doesn’t matter how he delivers it. So long as he is right, it doesn’t matter whether he is decent or kind.
Goins, Writer :: The Best Way to Pursue Your Life’s Work
The only other option is to kid yourself. To create a lofty goal or aspiration and never practice, only dream. This will leave you (and others) feeling disillusioned. 
Don’t do this. Your passion deserves better. Instead of going big, go small —really small.
I was also going to post a link regarding Kony2012 (which has been lighting up my twitter and facebook feeds), but the post has since been taken down. Loads of controversy lingering over this...

All in all, this was a good week on the interwebs. Anything going on in the real world I should know about?

"Mommy, I wet!" and other Friday morning cries...

09 March 2012



On Five Minute Fridays, I click the link and wait for the prompt and ready myself for the words that come. But recently, it's been mostly... nothing.

I set the alarm and hear the soothing cello sounds and press snooze right as I hear the wee lad cry, "Mommy, I wet!" There will be no up and at 'em before the children today, no reading, no prayer... just dishes and cereal and fingers unzipping another pair of pee-soaked fleece pjs.

This, I think, with as little joy I can muster, never gets old.

He's on his way to an appointment and I'm just out of the shower and the girl comes to me crying. Wee lad has hit her on the head with a wooden stick (because we have lots of wooden sticks and planks and piano parts laying around our apartment). He's in a rush, and I'm wet and naked, and there is no time for words of affirmation and kisses and till death do we part on a Friday morning.

The house is empty of two now, the husband and boy gone for the day, and here he is again. The wee lad crying for milk or for hug or for Wiggles. He is in need, hungry, desperate for love this morning.


The rules:

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Please visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments.

Our Compassion Kiddos {and how to sponsor one yourself}

06 March 2012

In our family, only three of our little people actually live with us. You already know one is in heaven (though it was an early pregnancy loss, I still wince at that statement), but the other two live far, far away from here. We affectionately refer to them as our Compassion Kids. The boy is 13 and the girl is 6. And they are adorable and amazing, send us verses and pictures, and tell us how they pray for us.

They pray for us.

But that's not what I want to write about. SO KEEP READING!

I don't want to brag on them or how awesome it is that we sponsor them. I mean, I do feel awesome about sponsoring them, but not because it makes me feel more important or extremely generous or super spiritual. But because it's the least we can do - we who are in the 1% of the world's wealthiest based solely on the fact we live in America - for children who belong to the world and grow up in poverty.

What I really want is to share with you why and how you can sponsor a couple of Compassion Kids of your own.

  • Because chances are you can afford to feed, clothe, shelter and educate your children. 
  • Because there are people in other parts of the world in which the very culture is rooted in systemic poverty. 
  • Because these parents are just trying to keep their kiddos alive (if, in fact, the parents themselves are even alive). 
  • Because they need help in feeding, clothing, sheltering and educating these awesome little people.
  • Because you would empower these families, invest in a child's future, and impact society.
  • Because for the cost of a couple lattes a week (or one dinner out a month), you can provide benefits to a child which include: education, health care and instruction, nutrition and life-skills training.
  • Because this is what their local church does and what our global Church was meant to do.
  • Because that child will see the Gospel.
  • Because he will discover Jesus there.
  • Because you can. 


This is the super easy part, and the part that gets awesome. All it takes is a look at a face (or a click on a link). 

Our first Compassion child was passed down our row at a concert until he stopped in my lap. And when I saw that face, he became our kid. Back then (almost ten years ago), the interweb wasn't as trusty as it is now; I actually had to fill. out. a. card. (gasp!) to start sponsoring that little guy.

Now, it's so much easier! And the impact in their lives - and your heart - that much greater.

Visit Compassion's page for children who have been waiting. They've been waiting for you. And some have been waiting a long time. Our second compassion kiddo popped up on my blog last year. I saw her face and I clicked.

It's just that easy to open your heart and be the typing, giving, letter-writing hands of Jesus.

For more information, visit But click on that link above. Click on it! Do it. Now. Those kids are waiting for their future. And they really, truly cannot wait to thank you for it. You'll be in their hearts, too. 

And though you may never touch them, hear their voices, check their temps, or sing them to sleep, I believe God brings these little people to us to care for all the same. Even from miles and miles away.

Sponsor a Waiting Child from Compassion International on Vimeo.

We eat the fruit

So it does happen in threes. But it's so much more than threes.

Matt's grandmother. A friend of my mother's. A family friend who was grandmother, mother, and sister to all. Within a week we found ourselves surrounded by it: death.

It happens, right? This is the deal. We eat the fruit, we die. As much as everyone enters the world through mother's womb, everyone eventually leaves it.

[I struggle to understand this beautiful dichotomy: death for us leaves the hole of absence, but death for them brings the glory of wholeness.]

But still, it's shock stings. It always leaves a mark of regret and sadness. There is wondering and forgetting ("When did we last hug? What were my last words to him?"). It causes one to sit still and think and acknowledge that life and death are two faces on the same coin. We will all say goodbye - to a matriarch in her 80s or a missionary and mentor in her 70s or a passionate man in his 60s - with the squeezing of a hand or the touch of a casket.

And after death, in between funerals and memories, a birth. My friend's son arrives a wee bit early and I smile and remember, "Oh yeah... not just death. Life is happening, too." My emotions teeter-totter as I bump off the ground and float higher towards the sky. I have flipped the coin. 

This is life, and we celebrate.

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Family Images

03 March 2012

Because my husband has been desperate for snow, and because depending on where you live in Wisconsin you've received 5 to 25 inches of snow in the last week, we're staying an extra day with his parents to enjoy the sledding frivolity.

And because we're not sure when we'll all be together again, an impromptu family photo shoot took place.