Category Archives: Writing

Tuesday Grace Letters: Dear future self

I wrote this letter in response to the assignment from Kara at Mundane Faithfulness… click the image at the bottom of the post to read more letters from other bloggers and to learn more about Kara and her heartbreakingly amazing story.

The assignment: I want to you write a letter of grace to yourself 10 years from today. Include pictures of your life now, but hopes and dreams and fears you have for yourself, your loves, your life in ten years.

Dear 2024,
Ten years into the future doesn’t seem like a long time until I consider the ten years that have just passed – 2004 seems like a lifetime ago. So I think it is safe to say that another ten years will seem like another lifetime. Wow.
IMG_20140224_161740I will be fast-approaching 50 – likely more than halfway through life (Lord willing). I don’t know the heartaches that will have been felt and lived through, though I can imagine what they might be, I pray they don’t seem like too much to handle and that you remember to turn to God for strength – He will always carry you, especially when taking another step just doesn’t seem doable. He will also give you the best blessings and gifts you will ever know, be thankful for each and every thing. I pray you grow closer to Him, putting him ever first. I pray you love your family above all other people and serve them well. I pray that you are content with life – in spite of any challenges and that any area that feels like it is lacking is simply a blip on the screen, or an opportunity for growth and learning. May you be blessed with friendships to sustain you and love to surround you and a confidence in yourself and your abilities that allows you to let go of anxiety.
My dear husband… you’ll be hitting 50 just before me. And we’ll be approaching almost 20 years of marriage – in fact,  I will have known you a greater part of my life than the part that came before I knew you. I often forget that you don’t know all the details of the time before you were around – not that I’ve kept anything from you, just simply that you weren’t already a part of it, you are so much a part of my life now, you fit perfectly and know me so well. I pray the years of working opposite shifts and single-parenting our kids are long behind us, that we will look to this current stage of our lives and know we are stronger for it, having made it through to the other side of this seemingly endless stretch that is having two younger BOYS and parenting in mostly single-shifts. I pray for good health and no knee replacements (darn rugby). I pray that you become the man that God wants you to be and grow in your faith and step into leading our family spiritually – setting the very best example of what a godly man can and should be for our two young men. I pray you feel loved most by God, then me and then our boys – that you know you are cherished, even when we humans fail at showing you that.
IMG_20130919_183317Liam – you will be turning 18 this year – practical adulthood by legal standards. You’ll be completing high school and heading out onto college (I sure hope) – leaving our home to launch into the real world (or as real as college gets). I am so excited to see the person you’re going to become – I get glimpses from time to time with the things you tell me and how you treat your friends. You have the potential to be so kind and generous, I pray that you lean in that direction and turn away from your impulses toward anger and frustration, that you train your heart to respond in love and empathy. You are a sponge for learning – about the world, about music, about God, about anything and everything – I pray you always absorb what the world has to offer you, discerning what is good and worth keeping and discarding the things that will hold you back. I pray you have someone to look to for guidance (whether myself, your dad or someone else), someone who is your voice of reason and sounding board. That you have built friendships that will last a lifetime and that make you a better man. I pray that you learn from your mistakes and never have to repeat them. I hope that you and Jack will be best friends, he’s the brother God gave you and you two will have each other no matter where you go in life. I’m excited for you to be starting a new stage in your life… heading out into the first step in adulthood, hopefully we have prepared you and you look to God first.
wpid-IMG_20130911_144247.jpgJack, Jack, Jack – you will be 15 and no doubt itching to be heading off the college like your brother but you’ll still have a few more years. At five, you’ve long felt that your life is just one long, unfair game of catch-up with your older brother – I hope that at 15, you’ve discovered the precious truth that playing catch-up is not the way to go and that there is a path set out just for you that has nothing to do with following along behind your brother. God put you second in the birth order for a reason, He has plans for you. You are on the cusp of adulthood, still dependent on us for rides to get you from place to place, straining to be just that little bit older. I pray for contentment for you, the same as with me, that you find happiness where you are, not where/who/what you think you ought to be. I pray that God safeguards your heart against frustration when it comes to your hand and gives you friends who make anyone who can’t see past that difference just not matter. I pray that just as you need strength, that you will also be given a gentleness that will allow you to love and let others in… your independence is a good thing but it should not keep you from needing others in your life.

I pray that both of my boys, nearly men, look to God for guidance, comfort and wisdom. That they are beacons of light in the world. That they will love us as parents and friends, and always delight in coming home.
wpid-IMG_20130821_172705.jpgGeorge (I’m not going to pretend he’ll be reading this but he is a part of our family)… our first “practice” child, born the day before we got married. Just the other day Jack started crying because Liam was talking about the dog we theoretically will get when George dies and my sweet youngest didn’t “want Georgie to die.” Me neither. But that heartache will come, through hopefully not for many more years. Our lives are better for having loved and cared for our neurotic little pet.

No matter what has happened, I pray we have no regrets, no worries that cannot be handled and lives warmed by friendships, laughter and faith.

We are never promised easy, but we are promised heaven and all the rest is part of the journey.
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Mundane Faithfulness

Monday Randoms

Don’t think we’ve done a random list on a Monday before and also not going to do a search to find out if we have… sorry, that’s the effort I’m willing to put in today.

To kick us off, here’s a random photo from my computer:

That’s me on Christmas morning with some incredible crazy hair. I think I was pretty cute back then.

  • My kids are missing being able to run around on playgrounds for hours at a time – this is what I’m blaming their nutso behavior on from when we were at my parent’s house this weekend. My dad suggested that our next house be big enough to have a jungle gym inside. I’m thinking a padded room (not sure if it will be for me or for them).
  • Liam finally saved enough money to buy his green ninja – he was beyond thrilled and even slept with it last night (to ward off nightmares).
  • Jack slept in his sweater with a skull and crossbones on it, also to ward off nightmares – to each their own.
  • I exasperatedly told Jack he wasn’t cute this weekend (because he was being a pill) and he smiled, with a twinkle in his eye and replied, “I am cute!” To my credit, my dad laughed out loud before I did.
  • My dad’s knee is looking like a science project (he had his second knee replaced on Monday) but he is getting around pretty well. The boys were fascinated with looking at the stitches (of which there were many).
  • Making baked goods is my love language – I made two batches of Triple Chip Blondies and a double batch of Carmelitas last week – my friends gobbled them up but my hubby has been “too full” to eat any… pretty sure that’s against his husbandly duties. My children also refuse to eat them, though they happily lick the beaters while I’m making them… this kind of self control is not something I’m familiar with.
  • I’ve been thinking about what’s next for me in life… what’s my next challenge, big thing, what have you… and I’ve been drawn to the discipline of working on my writing. I signed up for “The Practice of Writing” by Alice at Finslippy and have started reading a free ebook I got last week You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One). We shall see where it takes me.
  • I’ve also been thinking a ton about things I gleaned from our speaker at the women’s retreat a week ago. Sharon Brown spoke of spiritual discipline and being open to what God has to tell us, saying, like Mary, “Here I am.” I’ve been praying about the Hebrew words for that “hineni” and wondering how I can live that and being totally open to what God has in store for me. I’m certainly not done with raising my boys (is a parent ever fully done?) but I feel like I have the capacity to take on something else, to be open to what God needs me to do, whatever that is.
  • We had a fun double date night last night and checked out a new restaurant/brewery in town – Perrin Brewing Company. Great place if you are local and like beer (and chili cheese fries). We’d love to meet you there!
  • I missed most of the Emmy Awards last night… completely forgot that were on but I’m happy Homeland and Modern Family won the big awards. Those are both shows I very much enjoy (though Homeland and enjoy are not really words that should go together when talking about a show focused on very flawed main characters but it is just so good).
  • Thanks to my lovely husband, I have two concerts to look forward to for the fall after not going to any this year (other than The Verve Pipe family concert). Ingrid Michaelson and fun. will both be at Calvin, I’m excited to check them out.
  • We checked out ArtPrize a little bit yesterday and I can’t wait to get down there and see more – I just love this time of year in GR!
  • We started off our day of good company and good food yesterday by meeting my niece and her husband for brunch at our favorite breakfast spot: Wolfgang’s. Everyone was happy – Liam almost polished off an entire plate of pancakes and Jack made good work off his grilled cinnamon roll… it’s always a good meal out with kids when they happily eat the food in front of them. I felt a little bad that Quinn and Chris had to spend part of their child-free weekend with our kids, but someone else’s kids are always easier to handle than your own so we’ll call it good!
  • Fall in Michigan is just magical. I dare you to disagree with me.
  • And I have to admit… I miss [some of] my smoothies from the juice detox…
  • I stopped at a local cafe one morning last week for a coffee and I have to say I will not be back because a) the coffee was way overpriced for the quantity I received (though it was tasty) and b) it took 15 minutes for me to get my coffee and there was only one person ahead of me in line when I got there. Sheer incompetence does not get repeat business.
  • I love my friends. And I very much love my family.
  • I do not love people who drive like they are the only people on the road.
  • Simon and I saw a large fish in the middle of the road on our way to our date. We were out in the country and not anywhere near water and while I’m sure there was a reasonable explanation for the fish being there, I think we can agree that seeing a fish as “roadkill” is a bit odd.