Thursday, January 4, 2018

The Sacred In Sacrifice


"Mom... If things with my brother are bad... And it is going to cost a lot of money... I want to give things up for him. Things like... Well, tae kwon do. I know it costs a lot for me to do tae kwon do. So I would give that up."

She loves tae kwon do.

She loves her brother more.

It isn't a sacrifice she needs to make.

But how can you not see the Sacred when a child offers to sacrifice their passion?

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The Sacred in a Moment


The phone rang. The number we had been waiting on...

The doctor's voice.
Not a nurse.

Calling with results.
Results that were simply more questions.

I inhaled.

In that moment, the Holy Spirit was within me, around me, between us.

Then I exhaled. Fear, worry, the unknown returned.


Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The Sacred in Laughter


Jan 2

I found the Sacred in laughter today.

The kind of laughter where you forget everything else in the world for a second. For a moment. Because all that matters is the ridiculous thing that made you crack up.

It's hard to escape life right now. But good friends can help with that.

I found the Sacred in laughter.



Monday, January 1, 2018

Seeking the Sacred


I'm not big on resolutions for the new year. I've done the "word for the year" thing but it doesn't really stay with me, either.

I am intrigued by the idea of doing something daily. I don't usually think of it until the middle of the year. No idea why I can't just start it on that day but something just feels refreshed and new with the changing of the calendar.

However, I am usually lacking ideas for what I should specifically track or do daily.

At church this past Sunday, our pastor said something in the sermon about the random places where we find the sacred. And it got me to thinking that I have not paid much attention to that - to those places where the Holy Spirit surrounds me. I used to feel very in tune with those moments. But now, it's more like hindsight. I can look back and see where God was with me, where I leaned on my faith.

So I'm setting a loose goal to blog. Maybe daily. Maybe weekly. But to write down those moments of ordinary where I encounter the Sacred. Where I meet the Holy Spirit. Where I recognize the grace of God.

2017 ended with a lot of struggle in our family.

Dec 12 - The week before winter break, Teagan woke up puking in the middle of the night. 24 hour stomach bug.

Dec 16 - I take Zach to Urgent Care because he has leg pain from tripping over anothe rkid at recess the day before. This is where the nightmare began. They did an xray. It showed an abnormality.

I won't go through every painful detail. I have written out everything I can remember from that day. It started a ball rolling that we never imagined would be in our lives.

First, we ruled out leukemia. Yes, this was a terrible, awful, terrifying day.  This was done via blood work in the ER of our children's hospital.  He is given crutches and told to keep weight off the leg.

Next, an MRI was done. Dec 21. Met with a pediatric oncologist for a dose of hope - she didn't see signs of malignancy. She sends us to an ortho because there is nothing immediate that she needs to do based on the MRI. There is a mass at the top of his right fibula.

We see the ortho the next day, Dec 22. He reviews the X ray and MRI. He says it could be as minor as a mass of cartilage or as major, but certainly more rare, as being a sarcoma that would require chemo and surgery and other scary things. Step one is a bone biopsy to see what is inside the mass.

Dec 27 is his biopsy. He is under general anesthesia. The procedure takes about an hour. The doctor says what he saw showed a consistent whiteness, no discoloration. These are good signs. The mass is encapsulated - totally contained.

In the midst of all of this, Teagan ends up with strep throat. We catch it immediately and get her on antibiotics right away. My mother in law ends up in the hospital. My grandma ends up in the hospital.

So I have spent winter break being anxious, in tears, terrified... being brave for my boy, needing to just be held by my husband... we have taken turns crying, fearing the changes to our future. We have found relief and joy as we pass certain hurdles and cross scary words off the list that we never knew we were keeping.

Now it is a new year. January 1.         

Zach is still on crutches. We should have biopsy results this coming week.

This morning, the waterproof post-surgery bandage came of his little leg. Seeing the stitches, the marks on his leg... broke my heart into little pieces all over again.

And then he puked. Because of the crutches, he couldn't make it to the bathroom. So the kitchen floor took it. And the splatter meant a LOT of clean up. Jeff handled the worst of it. I steam cleaned the floor and lysoled it. He ran the carpet shampooer on the small section outside the kitchen. We got Zach cleaned up and into bed to rest.

I decided to go ahead and shampoo the carpet in the hallway since we had the machine all set up anyway. Jeff sat with Zach while he was resting and I shampooed the carpet.

The machine was loud - drowning out all sounds around me. The process requires not being in a hurry. You have to be slow and patient.

And this is where I met the sacred today. In my hallway as I shampooed the carpet. Moving slowly, patiently, methodically. Allowing my brain to wander or rest.

I cried. Everyone was tucked away behind closed doors so I was alone with my shampooer and carpet. Tears down the cheeks as I allowed myself to touch on all the fear and anxiety and even just the blasted unfairness of how hard these past weeks have been.

I cried for myself. For my little boy. For my daughter and husband.

I cried for the families of kids who live with mobility restrictions and the circumstances they must have when sick.

I cried for the families who don't get those blood results back with good news. I cried for those who spent Christmas in the hospital.

I realized that I used to think my faith was about carrying me through hard times until I could be happy again. But as I shampooed the carpet, it struck me that joy doesn't mean being happy all the time. Peace doesn't mean never having troubles.

In the midst of all of this difficulty, there has been love and laughter. Joy. There has been hope and relief. Peace.

Moments. Hard moments. Impossible, frozen in time moments. Warm moments. Hugging moments. Love moments. Strength moments. Hand holding, game playing, hugging, holding, on my knees praying moments.

Jan 1 - Today, I found the Sacred as I shampooed carpet.






Friday, December 1, 2017

2017 is Almost Gone


1 month left to achieve goals or to adjust them. Some things have to push into 2018. Nothing wrong with that. Some things will continue to need focus beyond a single year or achievement.

Smiley face - done.
Red X - not going to happen in 2017.
Pink heart - Can still accomplish or it is in process / adjusted.




A night away with Jeff - we did do a church retreat. We have not had time to find another weekend getaway. I'm starting to think it takes a year of planning to make it happen. At this point, if we could convince the kids to just spend the night with friends and we could be home alone together, I'd totally count it.

Weekend for me (yellow arrow) - I have made zero effort on this one. And it won't happen in December. So maybe in 2018...

Family vacation - Smokey Mountains in the spring, weekend at Kingdom Kentucky over the summer.

Explore different faiths - Teagan and I attended the Indy Festival of Faiths and very much enjoyed ourselves. We learned about wearing a hijab, wearing a turban, and much more.

Quiet time in nature - I've sat and prayed outside several times, usually at my church which has natural habitat areas.

Active time in nature - This one hasn't happened. I didn't make it a priority.

Black Belt - This one moves to 2018. Teagan has earned her Black Belt. She started a few months before the rest of us. But Jeff, Zach and I will be testing next year.

Prayer and reflection - ongoing.

Pray regularly - I haven't made this one happen, either. Interestingly, lately I've been feeling more and more like... I don't have words for it. But more of a calling to be close to God.

Focus my passion - this might take longer than 1 year. But I feel more content in recognizing my passions than I did when the year started. As we approach the end of the year, I will say that a big realization this year was that I do like my job. It's hard and it's stressful. But I like what I do most of the time. So while it may not be my passion, I like shifting my focus to be positive about how I spend the majority of my waking hours.

Exercise - tae kwon do continues. Trying to increase my daily steps. Boxing with a friend sometimes. Still would love to do zumba regularly. Once TKD is done, I will have to find my next thing to help me stay a little active.

Yoga - Another one that I just need to make happen. I'd like to make this one happen in December.

Date nights - Another one that needs to be made a priority and I just haven't. Situations have changed so that having a sitter for the kids is more of a challenge. However, we have been trying to find alone time more often - even if it means just being able to run to Target without the kids for an hour.

5K - Done

Ride my bike - I don't think this one will happen in 2017, sadly. Nope. Didn't happen. Will have to try again in 2018.

Free hugs (3x) - Done. At the Women's March and at Indy Pride (in the parade) and again at the Festival of Faiths.

Read 12 books - done! And still going! Currently reading Hillbilly Elegy. Beartown and Waking Up White are next on the list. Have really been enjoying young adult books this year.

Journal - ongoing. Recently my journaling has been poetry!

Time with friends - ongoing.

Chores - we had a great system over the summer. Struggling to keep it up in the school year. No consistent system but I'm better about asking the kids to do jobs more often.

Love others - yep. This is happening.

Labyrinth - check. Walked the labyrinth at church after a friend died.

Wear my Fitbit - check.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

4 More Months


At the start of 2017, I created a list of goals for the year. I last updated in April and figured it was time to update again - partially to hold myself accountable in the last 4 months of the year.

Stars show done or in process. Arrows are areas I need to get started or maybe drop.

A night away with Jeff - we did do a church retreat. But I'd still like to find a romantic getaway weekend.

Weekend for me (yellow arrow) - I have made zero effort on this one. Sigh. Although, I am doing an overnight with a friend prior to doing a 5K together so maybe I can halfway count that?

Family vacation - Smokey Mountains in the spring, weekend at Kingdom Kentucky over the summer.

Explore different faiths - I've done a little and plan to attend the Indy Festival of Faiths this fall.

Quiet time in nature - I've sat and prayed outside several times, usually at my church which has natural habitat areas.

Active time in nature - haven't even made it to the local nature preserve for a walk. I am going to at least make that happen.

Black Belt - This one moves to 2018. Teagan has earned her Black Belt. She started a few months before the rest of us. But Jeff, Zach and I will be testing next year.

Prayer and reflection - ongoing.

Pray regularly - I haven't made this one happen, either.

Focus my passion - this might take longer than 1 year. But I feel more content in recognizing my passions than I did when the year started.

Exercise - tae kwon do continues. Trying to increase my daily steps. Boxing with a friend sometimes. Still would love to do zumba regularly.

Yoga - Another one that I just need to make happen.

Date nights - Another one that needs to be made a priority

5K - I am signed up for 1 in Sept and 1 in Oct!

Ride my bike - I don't think this one will happen in 2017, sadly.

Free hugs (3x) - I've done free hugs twice this year. At the Women's March and at Indy Pride (in the parade)

Read 12 books - done! And still going! Currently reading Hillbilly Elegy. Beartown and Waking Up White are next on the list.

Journal - ongoing. Recently my journaling has been poetry!

Time with friends - ongoing.

Chores - we had a great system over the summer. Struggling to keep it up in the school year.

Love others - yep. This is happening.

Labyrinth - check. Walked the labyrinth at church after a friend died.

Wear my Fitbit - check.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Happy New Year!


Today is the last day of 3rd grade and 6th grade for my kids. I found myself reflecting on all the things that have gone on in the year as I was scrolling through photos on Facebook to find their first day of school pictures. It's been a really good year in many ways. I start writing down all the things that I want to remember about this school year and realized that it was like celebrating the new year.


Zach had a teacher who was new to our school. He was in a "cabin" classroom - meaning a nicely appointed trailer behind the school.

Teagan had 2 teachers who have taught together for years and had long teaching careers.

Over the course of the school year:

We visited the Art Museum, made trips to the State Fair, went on walks in many different parks, went to Jingle Rails at the Eiteljorg, visited the Indiana Historical Society, and went to 2 different rallies (we all went to the Kids Rally for Peace and I went to the Women's March). Teagan and I did the CROP Walk and also the Walk for Dreams (both events support organizations that fight hunger and homelessness).

The kids dressed up as Star Wars characters - Rey and Kylo Ren. For Halloween. Bandit dressed up as a superhero.



We saw Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Twice. Once, Teagan and I went with friends to a local church production. Then the kids and I went to see it at a local theatre.

Teagan ran Cross Country at school.

We attended a performance by the Carmel Symphony Orchestra. Teagan started band at school, playing the euphonium. Zach and Teagan sang with the children's choir at church. Teagan joined the handbell choir with me. Teagan was in her school musical and played Kristin Chenoweth. Zach sang and danced i nhis school music program.

I discovered a love of jewelry. But only this $5 per piece jewelry.

Zach turned 9 and celebrated with a friend at SkyZone (indoor trampoline park). And it was an "everything Pikachu" birthday. Teagan turned 12 and celebrated with friends at the bowling alley and then a family dinner at Benihana.

Jeff and I went out to dinner to celebrate his milestone birthday. No need to mention which milestone.


The kids both had strep and pink eye. Then Zach got strep 2 more times. I had all kinds of health stuff - an overnight in the hospital for heart afib, seeing a hematologist and getting iron infusions for my anemia, ablation and tubal removal to also help with the anemia. I had my first mammogram.

Teagan took a sushi making class. Zach was a platypus in his class "zoo wax museum." Teagan got glasses. Bandit had to wear the "cone of shame" after needing a minor procedure.

We vacationed for spring break in the Smokey Mountains - Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge. We also got to add a surprise 2 nights to our trip - meeting up with friends who were returning from their Florid trip! We spent a weekend in Sieverville, TN. We discovered Berea, KY on our trip home.

Teagan and Christy did indoor skydiving (on our spring break trip).

My brother, Ted, got engaged - which means I will soon have a sister (Rebecca)!

We've read many books, spent time with friends, played and cheered for our church softball team, added a piano and antique bed (gifted to us by friends who are moving across country) to our home, watched movies, discovered fun TV shows, hugged, laughed, snuggled, played.

We've also had a lot of disagreements, had a lot of misery on our fun activity vacation, had a lot of attitudes and eye rolls and arguments and such. Work has been pretty stressful - simply the nature of the job in certain circumstances.

But with this last day of school, I'm looking back and realizing how much my kids have grown in this past year. Zach has really come out of his shyness shell. He has been gently coached to be able to speak in front of people - which he did both at church and at school. He was a "book buddy" at school - meaning having reading time on a regular basis with a kindergartner throughout the year. He joined the choir at church - something he has always given a hard no to in the past. He has strongly connected with a few families at church. He has learned so much in this school year - he is always impressing me with the random math or science things he brings up in the car. We were at the library and he told me that he knew the best way to pick out a book. You read the first page and if you know all the meanings of the words, it's too easy. If you don't know most of the words, it's too hard. But if it interests you and you have to infer the meaning or look up a few words, it's just right.

Teagan has really grown this year, too. She is ending her year with straight A's and she worked hard and independently to earn those grades.She has navigated friendship issues, stepped away from drama, and befriended people who just need a friend. She has demonstrated kindness and compassion in some big ways. She has been brave and adventurous. She is in this age where so many of her friends want to be like teenagers and she isn't ready to give up being a kid. She has just started to wear a small amount of make up (mascara, lip gloss). She isn't quite to a point of having a crush - but I think we're on the verge of realizing that those feelings are starting to brew.

All in all, even with the lows and bumps and not so fun times, it's been a good year. On to 7th and 4th grade!!