Thursday, February 27, 2014


this may seem a tad nonsensical & overly dramatic, but it's rolled around in my head these past few days so i am attempting to assign it some words.  i've been distracted. a lot. lately.

as january came to a close, i was invited to join a book club.  it's meets tomorrow morning and i know only one person in the "club".  but part of my  "resolve"  this year is to nourishing my relationships with friends.  it presses me to be brave & vulnerable, and not hibernating in "that part' of my life that makes me so one dimensional. i received the invite via text message & immediately responded "yes-i'm in".  an email was delivered shortly thereafter with all the details of the club along with the title & author. with much excitement, i ordered the book from my phone off amazon and it arrived a two days later {love amazon prime}.  the goldfinch by donna tartt.  seven hundred, seventh-one pages.  a hardcover weighing close to eighteen pounds-more accurately 2.3, but at night when my biceps are ready for bed, it feels closer 23 pounds as i attempt to prop it up.
i quickly formulated a reading plan.  i would need to read 28 1/2 pages a day.  everyday.  for the entire month of february-the shortest month of the year!  i confessed to amber after a week of reading that i had fallen a bit behind and was going to have to drop out of the "club" because the task was insurmountable & i couldn't show up on the 28th with the book only partially read.  but she encouraged me, having full confidence in my reading abilities.  she obviously failed to remember my constant placement in the "slow as a snail" , not the "speedy foxes", reading group as a child.

but her confidence in me, grew my tenacity and i pressed on.  and tuesday night i finished. but at a cost...

this month i have been distracted.  the goldfinch has had all of my attention.  {this is where the drama might begin to unfold-but sometimes the dramatic is what gets my attention}.  i read my bible-journal-pray-memorize daily.  but not this month.  because of those 771 pages sitting on my nightstand coupled with my reply "yes-i'm in".  hear what i am saying, there is nothing ungodly about reading for entertainment.  God gifted people with the ability to intellectually articulate for 771 pages. and He also is not against us having things in our lives that we love be it our companion, career, hobby, health or wealth.  but we cannot allow the "things" to become our priority over Him.  and while i was not praying to my book morning & night or lighting candles in its honor or resting it on a golden throne when it wasn't cupped in my hands, it became my focus-my obsession.  and i was acutely aware of my preoccupation with this hardcover, yet i was still unable to place God in His proper first place position.  

and while getting off track over a book seems harmless, it reminds me of a time when doctors-medicine-a cure distracted me.  finding my solution-my outcome-my comfort over that of God's led our family & my husband on a wild {and dangerous} chase a few years back.  i felt-believed-knew God would answer the many prayers that were being said on behalf of our family and that my pjm would be healed, right here on earth, before my very eyes.  and it was in a very dark moment, when i whispered a quiet confession that only God heard that pjm & his health & his provision for our family was my idol-my obsession-my distraction.  i had for years placed him on that golden throne with God as a close second.   and the goldfinch, a book focused around an oil painting of a small little bird chained to its feed box, reminds me how easily "things" can take precedence over God.  and i see myself in that painting, a small life chained to what feeds me.

dear God.
please be that which feeds me.
and let all else come in second.
in Your name.  amen.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

marriage letters: once upon a time

dear pjm.

once, about 29 years ago, there was this part-time bank teller who was attending a jr college.  she held a quiet confidence in her heart about lots of things but she was very distrusting in matters of love.  you remember, as a tot her daddy left the family and never returned.  and somehow in her little girl logic, she was sure she had done something to make him disappear.

one night, shortly after turning 21, that little girl turned bank teller took her navy wool skirt & white button down shirt adorned with an complementing navy bow {promise it perfectly defined "business casual" in 1985} to a bar with a few of her girlfriends.  this seldom happened because she spent most nights studying or going to bed early so she could crack the books before the sun rose.  she looked very out of place amongst the bar crowd in their jeans and casual tops, but the music was loud and it felt so alive and carefree, so she quickly removed the tie & unbuttoned the top two blouse buttons and stayed dispite the fact she was fashionably challenged.

and, my dear husband, this is how we met.  at the entrance to the restrooms of the old del mar cafe.  you, pjm, so handsome in your jordache jeans. collared shirt. sperry top siders.  i noticed you immediately & you spoke to me with a casual confidence and i let you buy me a drink and i let you dance with me and i let you make me laugh. and then i let down my guard and gave you my home phone number.  i knew you would never call, but you did.  and we dated and fell in like and then in love.

yes, it was complicated.  love is.  you had two beautiful daughters and i knew little {actually, absolutely nothing} about raising children.  but we married and added to that family you already had. and then we added another ten years later and we had dreams as a family.  dreams much grander than those of that daddyless little girl who didn't want to share her heart.  you showered me with a life rich in experiences & adventures far beyond anything i could have imagined.  and you protected my heart, respecting my fears about love while proving i could trust you.  thank you for holding it so gently while allowing it to grow in love with you-our family-and in Christ.

and i dreamt of nana & popsicle's being the magical sweet spot for our grandbabies.  long summer days filled with splashing in the pool slathered with too little sunscreen, you teaching them the art of the "gwink" from a can of whip cream, eating handfuls of cherry tomatoes fresh from the garden, and snatching fresh eggs out from under the bums of our family of hens. but life's circumstances often transform dreams into a much different reality. like with you. me. and all those grandbabies.

thank you for those years of love and adventure that grew this girl's heart & confidence for this season of losing you.  because of our once upon a time marriage, i can live without you. yes, uncertain about what our future will look like because once upon a time always ended with happily ever after in this girl's mind.  and i am learning happily ever after is no longer defined as a little old married couple throwing open the front door every sunday for family dinner.  instead sometimes it means a wife clinging to the warm memories of her once upon a time & lives the balance of her happily ever after with the legacy you left behind.

but never once, do i regret laughing & dancing & falling for you in the middle of that bar on that night some 29 years ago.  thanks for saying "hey...", and looking past that uptight business getup i was wearing.

love you pjm.

this post is part of "marriage letters" and you can link up and read other letters about "once upon a time...".  thank you amber haines at the

Thursday, February 13, 2014

when true love waits.

true love waits...
the bible teaches us that we are to remain sexual pure until marriage waiting for the partner God designed for us.
true love waits...
not just physically abstaining from sex until marriage but guarding our hearts for that one love God has planned for us.
true love waits...

i honestly cannot speak to true love waiting for marriage, because i didn't.  i never wore a ring or signed a card or learned from my church-going ma to wait.  she didn't wait, so why should i?

however, pjm & i taught our children to save "that" part for their wedding night-for their life partner.  we didn't teach it out of fear of having grandbabies before wedding celebrations.  we taught it as one of the many facets of living a christian lifestyle. hypocritical coming from parents that lived together prior to saying "we do"?  most likely, fact, bathed in hypocrisy.  just like my mouth that says words like "shit" and "asshole", but i am called to not speak with foolishness or filth.  or my despise for that neighbor who offended me and each time i pass by her home, my brain sends up a middle finger, yet i am called to love my neighbor.  and my infrequent church attendance because i feel so lost sitting alone in that sunday morning church service, yet i am called to honor the sabbath & meet regularly with my fellow christians.

and true love waits.
waits for my husband to be healed in heaven.  and my true love waiting is no different than another.  true love waits for babies in a season of too many negative pregnancy tests.  true love waits when a husband is unemployed for not the first, but the second time.  true love waits while for a mother-in-law to finally move our of your home so life can find is equilibrium.  true love waits for doctors to deliver life-altering test results.  true love while a marine is deployed to a dangerous & foreign land, and you are home raising babies-alone.   true love waits.

dear pjm-
true love waits...
in honor of vows taken on our wedding day.
true love waits....
and hold hands & trims your nails & shaves your handsome mug.
true love waits...
for a miracle from God, in spite of my sanctimonious, self-serving habits.
for you, my love, i wait.

dear God.
true love waits...
on me to quit saying "shit", "damn" and an occasional "wtf".
true love waits...
for me to get over myself and forgive that woman down the street, not for her sake but for my own.
true love waits...
for me to continue to seek & find You. even in a church on a sunday morning
true love...
doesn't abandon when live is messy. and hard.  in fact, it sits in the middle of this hard space & loves me deeper and matures me & strengthens me to press on.

true love waits.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

when life doesn't make scents anymore...

puppies.  warm, pudgy,  downy fur.  cup them in your hands and hold them close.  draw them near and there is that scent that smells only of puppy.  babies have it too.  swaddled in a receiving blanket, in a mid-day slumber with a belly full of milk.  i could rest comfortable on the sofa holding puppies & babies until they become restless and in need of a change of pace.  but while i sit there in their presence, i drink in the scent that defines them.  as they grow into dogs & toddlers, interacting with the world more {most likely it is when they start crawling around on the ground and running wild outside-and consume more than just milk}, the scent fades and the memory is pressed into a tiny spot in the back of my mind, only to be recalled when another baby or pup is placed in my hands.

pjm traveled some over the years of his career.  on those nights when he was absent, i would use his pillow for the night-to sense his presence.  like puppies & babies, there was a scent that was uniquely his.  we probably all have our very own "smell" like fingerprints.  he would return home after being away, and greet me with a warm embrace-welcoming & safe.  and in the moments of standing securely in his arms, i would bury my face into his chest and again, his aura would be there.

but now, it has vanished.  on our visits, he smells of nothing but a little bit of "old"- if that is truly a scent.  when i greet him with a hug, i lean in, searching for that aroma of that man. the mixture of his deodorant, our laundry soap, his work & play, our shampoo, his shaving cream, but it is has dissipated. and i wonder if it's like the puppies & babies but in reverse. he is no longer that driven man fiercely working & playing out his daily life.  instead he is sauntering & living with so much old & sick, that old is all i can smell.

dear  aroma.
his jacket-his pillow-his big white truck.
they used to be full of you, making them distinctly him.
but over time you have faded away.
become diluted because he is no longer in your presence.
like so many parts of him,
i wish there was a way to have preserved you,
as a reminder of him.