Thursday, February 26, 2015


I've been saying that word constantly, out loud and in my mind, for the past day and a half.  Between fits of tears and long moments of silence, amongst the fake enthusiasm I've shown for my job all day and partial, artificial smiles at co-workers and students passing by my classroom.

My friend died.

No.  It can't be true.  It's got to be a mistake.  IT HAS TO BE A MISTAKE!!  NO!!!

Why?...why?...No.  It has to be a mistake.


Amy.  The daughter of my dear friend and music teaching colleague Deb.  Fellow blogger.  Lover of life, art, travel, food, music, friends, family, her fiance and sweet puppy.

I am heartbroken.

Psalm 34:18  “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Today while scriptures were rolling through my head I said "Lord, your word is written on my heart and I hear you.  I hear you and I know your truth.  But right now we are fighting.  I disagree with this because I DO NOT GET IT.  WHY does it have to be this way?"


I type the words into my phone's Bible app.  Yup, there they are, in Isaiah 55.

So I sit.  I wonder, for the thousandth time today, why.  I ask again: WHY?

Just..... why?  Lord, why?  She's gone, why?

And then this:

Psalm 73:26  “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

So I think about that word again, and again.  Forever.

John 14:1-4  “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going."


So I ponder this.  And I seek more of the word hoping to gain a tiny bit more wisdom through it.

The Casting Crowns song, what are the words?...I am a flower quickly fading, here today and gone tomorrow...a wave tossed in the ocean, a vapor in the wind...

Not because of who I am, but because of what You've done.

This is not fair.  THIS IS NOT FAIR.  And I think that this feeling, these emotions, this intense sadness, the unexpected terrible sudden "goodbye," is not for us.  We were not created for this kind of despair.  We weren't.  

We were created for God.

We were created to be eternal.  And because Jesus paid the price, we can be eternal.

Because of what You've done.

My friend Amy is with Jesus.  THAT IS AMAZING, PRAISE HIM!!!  Praise Him for her life and praise Him for this amazing gift of salvation!!
And suddenly, I'm a fool to be wallowing.  It's that strange war between the flesh and the spirit.  We can't fathom eternity...the human nature we are born into prevents that.  Alone, we have zero chance and zero hope past our pathetic, short, meaningless human lives.

But HE is our hope.

He is Amy's.  He is her strength.  And now she is with Him.

You will be missed, dear girl.

Psalm 119:50  “My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

"It's Worth It"

You've heard that phrase thousands of times.  

What are things in your life that get tagged as "worth it?"  Here are mine.  Some are deep and meaningful; some are just for fun.  They are in no particular order.

1.  Going out to eat.
I love to eat at restaurants.  Choosing from a full menu, the anticipation before the food arrives, the way drinks always taste better at restaurants (Have you noticed?  Even water and soda taste better.  Why is this?), not having to clear tables and do's worth every penny.  

My two favorite places in Mason City (and my typical orders):

The Quarry
On the tapas menu: the edamame, Lala's mussels, and chicken wings
From the dinner menu: the grilled Caesar salad with salmon, scallops with orange glaze, New Age white.

Appetizer: the Beef and Bleu Fondue
Entree: Filet Oscar with Greek pasta, cabernet.

Okay, now I am hungry.  Moving on.

2.  Expensive makeup.
I bought Cover Girl and Maybelline for years, with an occasional Clinique splurge whenever it was "bonus time."  Before Tom and I got married, I was introduced to Bare Minerals and I haven't looked back.  I LOVE each and every product I've ever used.  My favorites are the original foundation and the Mineral Veil.

3.  Flying.
To me, there is no better way to travel.  Road trips sound great in theory...but the United States is big.  Before reaching your destination, you have to put up with a lot of boring space between landmarks and cities.  Give me a fast, efficient airplane over a gas-hungry, uncomfortable vehicle any day.

4.  Labor.
18 hours of pain, exhaustion, frustration, and endless waiting...absolutely WORTH IT. 

5.  Professional hair color.

This beautiful friend of mine is Kati.  She is my stylist and she is a genius.  Sometimes I have an idea for color and she'll look at me and say "No."  :)  She's always right and she always, ALWAYS has a great idea for my next hair color.  Right now I have a rainbow of low-lights and I'm excited to get back in there soon for an all-over brightening session for spring/summer!  Love you, Miss Kati.

6.  Top-of-the-line guitars.

When I started playing guitar, I was 17 years old.  My dad and I went shopping at a local music store and I got to pick out a "pretty" instrument of my own.  The shop owner sold me the one I wanted.  There was no discussion of neck width, string spacing, electronics, hardware, action, tone or general fit.  I picked the one that looked prettiest!  HAHA!  Now, 16 years later, it's completely laughable.  When I started playing more seriously I was graduated from college and doing worship music and coffeehouse gigs with a group of friends.  I complained that I couldn't play bar chords, no matter how hard I worked at it.  My friend Jesse looked at my form and said "it's because the neck is way too thick for your hand."  He handed me his Taylor guitar, and I never looked back.  I saved my money, promptly sold that "pretty" Fender and went to Bob's guitars in Cedar Falls where I got to pick out my very own Taylor guitar.  It is, of course, one of my all-time favorite purchases.  The neck is nice and slim, the waist is small, the body is slimmer, I had the action adjusted to fit my fingers, and I can play bar chords effortlessly.  I have my eyes on another Taylor model and I am waiting until my Masters degree is done to buy it!  Exciting!!

Sidebar: The Mohawk girls just WON!  On to their next game, against Ankeny Centennial.  I am at home with my sleeping boy and so, so thankful that KGLO broadcasts the girls' games so I don't have to truly miss any of them.  Tim Fleming is the absolute BEST announcer!  I am so proud of my husband and his team!  Go Mohawks!!  I also saw that the Clear Lake team is on to state...YES!  

So, tell me: what are things that you have found are "worth it?"  I want to know! 
Enjoy the rest of the precious weekend...spring break is almost here!


Friday, February 13, 2015

He's nearly 10 months

Baby Jude will be 10 months old on February 17 (!!!) and I can't believe it.  Hand me a tissue and play some sappy music while I have myself a good bawl about my baby turning into a little boy right before our eyes.

I've been teased for being sentimental about Jude growing up so fast, so let me defend myself.  It is more than simple sentiment.  Surely, every mother understands this.

I am not upset about it.  I am thrilled, proud, and excited that he is healthy and thriving, hitting every milestone and growing like a weed.

However...what makes me cry is that his baby days are all I know of him.  I can't see into his future.  What we've lived for 9 and a half months is what I know and treasure.  I love him so dearly and hold the memories so close to my heart that it is--yes, SAD--to see those stages fade away into nothing but photographs.

For 9 months he was a part of my body.  There's a part of me crawling around in the world.  My very heart, out there becoming a little man.

He has a squeaky giggle, and he lights up when Daddy walks into the room.  I can't get enough of his cuddles even at 3 am.  His hair is wild and fuzzy...I refuse to cut it.

Loves: ALL baby food, puffs, popcorn, rice biscuits, milk, and the soft-serve ice cream that Grandpa Rich fed him at the Timberwolves game.  Bathtime, books, his Harrod's teddy bear from London, knocking over towers of blocks, his binky, playing his drum and xylophone. 

Hates: getting out of the bath, the nose bulb syringe, having Mommy walk out of the room... it's hard to think of anything else!  He's a very content and happy baby.

Here are his 9-month pictures, snapped by the always-brilliant Jeanne Hansen:

I love you, baby Jude Thomas.