Take courage

31 January 2013

We're doing the midnight bed dance again because the truth is: no one really knows where we are. Living out of suitcases for over a month, in our 4th round of beds in as many weeks, children bump on the floor in the night and cry out. They don't remember where the toilet is, where our room is, where home is. It's all we can do to spoon them back to sleep, propping our heads up on thin pillows, arms under their weary necks. It's all we can do to set an alarm, find a clean bowl, drive them to a new school.

The exciting adventure of our days gives way to fitful dreams and midnight cries.

I was praying for them, the night before we sent them to school, when we knew where we would settle but weren't quite settled there yet. We faced a long commute, an alarm set before dawn, and I woke at 4 unable to sleep, praying, praying, praying over them. My inclination, my first instinct is to pray, "Lord, keep them safe." But I thought, if that was our only priority, surely we wouldn't uproot them, put them on planes and trains, walk them through the doors of another new school. No, it's not safety we want for them.

It's courage. And faith.

So instead I prayed, "Lord, make them brave." It didn't put me back to sleep, but it put my heart in its place and my hope up high. Oh, I want them to be brave, to know they can, to wonder and doubt and cry a bit maybe (it's hard to be brave if nothing at all is scary), to know when they fall off the bed they'll be found and carried to safety, to hear the wind and see the rain and still long to run outside and face the storm.

Oh, God, give them courage. Make them brave. And give me strength to spoon them to sleep once more.

I think praying bravery - in lieu of safety - is a scary thing. What scary thing are you praying for?

Wordless Wednesday

30 January 2013

Eventually I'll start writing again.

Dear Sister {no guilt trips}

28 January 2013

Dear Sister,

I hope you're OK. I haven't heard from you in awhile, and we're so far apart now, it's hard to know how things are on your side of the world. It's ok, really it is. You'll receive no guilt trips in the mail. But I miss you, and I wanted you to know.

You should see E right now, "I'm really small because I'm really, really old," she says. She's on her knees, using two toy hammers as crutches, wearing her new school tie.

"I'm an old, old man."

It's amazing the ideas that come out of her small brown head. I wish I could look inside, see her cranks spinning, hold her tender imagination, keeping it always young and free. But I settle for her songs, her strange little plays. "I'm a unicorn," she says now. She's really a chameleon, I think, ever changing.

There are times when I worry for her, because she doesn't have a sister. I'm afraid she'll miss out on the secrets, the confidants, the fighting, the companionship. But then I remember sisters come to us in so many different ways. By birth, by marriage, by divorce, by school, by location, by Jesus. That's how God gave me you. And I know she'll be ok. Sisters will come for her, too, one way or the other.

So write when you get a chance. Know I love you, even from afar, even with kids and oceans and jobs and husbands between us. Know you're not alone over there, even on the cold, long days. And know you have sisters there among you. Reach out for one. She'll meet you there.


A new series of posts entitled Dear Sister. I have four of them, each one unique, each brought to me in a different way (and now I realize I have so many more than four sisters, most of them brought to me directly by Jesus). I thought I'd write to them here... it'll save me a stamp. Plus, I get to make another button!

It doesn't snow in Ireland, and other lies I've told

20 January 2013

2013-01-12 13.46.37

At 2 am this morning, I had this brilliant idea and opening paragraph of a new post (the wee lad was awake and screaming due to some sort of tummy trouble). In the light of day and under the haze of little sleep, I don't have a clue as to what it was going to be about. But I'm pretty sure it would've been deep, awe-inspiring, witty and humble. You know, the usual.

We're ten days in now, only a handful of which we've managed to eat regular meals, and even fewer where we went to bed and woke up at proper intervals. And after months of telling our friends "It never snows in Ireland," we're on day two of occasional - blink and you miss it, so light you almost have to wish it to see it - snow. And as I put the period on that sentence, it picked right back up again, showing me how little I know about the weather, about Ireland, about God.

I stood in the woodchips of the playground, feeling those tiny white dippin' dots hit my face and crunch under my feet, the wind so fast and hard by the sea, and we all laughed. Only in Ireland would this be walking, playing, sightseeing weather. A month ago we would barely dare to brave the walk from our parked car in a suburban Target parking lot.

But things are different here. I could hide under the duvet in this holiday flat and wish away all the changes we face, the decisions we must make, the phone calls and emails we have to pursue to start again, again. In fact, maybe I did that for a day. It can be overwhelming, how long it takes to jump through the beaurocratic hoops of car insurance and visas and landlord references. But we've had a bit of practice with the waiting. And I've learned one can only hide for so long.

So I start the kettle and fill cereal bowls. We find scarfs and mittens and double up on layers. We face the stinging sea and we laugh... and sometimes, we cry. 

And we build a life again... again. We build a home.

Have you hid under the covers recently? 

Wordless Wednesday

16 January 2013

dun laoghaire pier

2013-01-16 10.29.59

2013-01-12 13.38.22

My brain is mush, from jetlag and house viewings and the rain that soaks you through. But a long walk down the pier sets many things right.

How do things look on your side of the world today?

Dear Sister {Jet-lag}

14 January 2013

2013-01-12 13.29.39

Dear Sister,

I am so tired. 

You know how we thought, "Here we go on this great adventure," thankful for the resilience and joy our kiddos showed despite the uprooting and the leaving and the goodbyes? Well, they're resilient all right. So resilient that they don't need sleep or food for fuel, they need only a random assortment of videos and suddenly they're running rabid through the intersections of an old port town. They need cold peas at three in the morning. They need to push all the buttons on the under-the-sink washing machine. They need pillow fights and rice krispies under foot and maybe a black eye or two.

But what they do not need is sleep.

Me? I need sleep. Before midnight, preferably. It would be good to get out of bed before noon, too. And maybe three square meals a day. Do I ask too much, five days after moving overseas? Is a 10pm bedtime and breakfast before 11am unrealistic?

Pray for me. Think of those chubby, ruddy cheeks on the darling faces of my children and pray, "Sleep, you little monsters. Sleep!" 

I miss you.


First in a new series of posts entitled Dear Sister. I have four of them, each one unique, each brought to me in a different way. I thought I'd write to them here... it'll save me a stamp. Plus, I get to make another button!

a year at HOME

03 January 2013

It's somewhat ironic that as I write this, we're off the grid. The home we built here in America - among our friends and family in Kansas City, squared in by coloured pencils on walls - has closed its doors. I hugged my mother in the parking lot of our apartment and said goodbye, again. We are living out of suitcases, many many suitcases, waiting to see where our home will be on the other side.

And I was thinking that maybe I needed a word this year, to keep me grounded in life and family and the winding journey God has placed before us. But with everything changing - not a single thing will be the same a week from now, apart from the five of us - how do i pick a word now?

But then I knew... and I think you do, too. You know what eludes me, what it is I'm looking for, what will stay the same, the challenge God has been giving me over and over with every new start. So my one word for 2013 is HOME. 

This year, starting even now in a cold Wisconsin living room and amidst the chaos of files and boxes and passports, creating home for our kids, for our marriage, for our work, for our new friends and neighbours, for the spirit of God within me and for the heart of Jesus where our home rests and waits for us. I still have so much to learn, to practice, to look for, to cultivate.

A year at home, what will that look like? Honestly, I don't have a clue!


Do you do New Year's resolutions, or have you one word for 2013? I'd love to hear about it!