Mother-in-law things, something I can do!


DSC_0538I can’t sew

I can’t drive

My ability to walk is severely hampered

As a result I’m spending an astounding amount of time in bed

Waiting for my foot to heal and for my life to resume back to normal

There are many things I can’t do right now

But I can write

And I can pray

So I take out the prayer journals I began for my future daughters-in-law

And place them on the bed

Along with my bag of colorful markers

My Bible opened to the book of Philippians

I take a verse or two each day

And yes, some days I am remiss

But I begin to pray for these women

photo 6Jotting down things that the Lord brings to my heart

Because I can

I mean prayed for them before I even knew they existed

And now here they are

1543770_10152111217080409_243254914_nOne day I’m praying that my son’s future wife is protected from volcanic eruptions in her country

And then I’m asking the Lord to keep the other safe in the frozen tundra of a big city – WOW!

1459210_10151710511790778_2097815045_nBoth face many adventures being members of this family

And brides to awesome, yet imperfect men

And I love them truly

So while I have time

(O Father, may I always find moments and desire)

Even when I’m back on my feet

To spend productively in prayer

Special thanks to Pray4Lilly and StilettoMom for their encouraging words and inspiration to write a post about what I can do!

Five Minute Friday – afraid

My son spends a lot of time on the train. I spend a lot of time on my knees praying for his safety.

My son spends a lot of time on the train. I spend a lot of time on my knees praying for him.

“Don’t worry, Mom, I’ve got brass knuckles.”

This was my ministry minded middle’s way of reassuring me.

He has brass knuckles, therefore,

I guess,

if he is attacked on the subway or on the streets

at night

in a high crime part of the city

while walking back from coaching an inner city boys’ basketball team

I’m not to worry.

Uh, yeah, right…

It doesn’t work that way when you’re a mom.

I grew up feeling a lot of fear, that “muscle” is well-developed.

The trust and faith muscles atrophied

I’m building them back, working them out though.

Aaron provides me with many training sessions with the Lord.

“Push past being afraid,” God reminds. “I’ve got this. I’m Jehovah Shammah (God who is there).”

Hurricane Sandy encountering MY olive shoot in Chicago. This is him in the picture!

Hurricane Sandy encountering MY olive shoot in Chicago. This is him and a buddy in the picture!

And when he went to Lake Shore Drive to experience Hurricane Sandy and sent me THIS picture of the waters nearly engulfing him…

Oh Lord, my olive shoots

With only five minutes to write, I featured just one olive shoot currently on my heart but I have a Soldier and an orange hair, freckle face OS too, sooooo,

Funky chicks write for five minutes! Come on and join us!

Funky chicks write for five minutes! Come on and join us! Click here for deets.

At least the crime rate is lower during cold weather – (another one of Aaron’s gems…)

Blustery heart

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photoA cold morning finds
a mama worried –
about a Soldier,
a ministry-minded middle
and an orange hair, freckle face olive shoot.
Tears flow.
They’re not in trouble or doing anything wrong (or at least not that I, I mean she know/s of!).

Two hours later
she reads Scripture for a weekly Bible study
Gently, unexpectedly
God tucks comfort and assurance into her heart.

“It is good for a man to bear the yoke

while he is young.”

Lamentations, of course, this totally makes sense
This mama can be
a big time lamenter

And just like that
Worries find solace and melt away.

On this January day
She breathes.

Doing Hard Things – Nate needs a new knee in New York :(


August 5, 2011 became a day our entire family will remember. For my oldest OS, it was not only a day that marked the passing of my grandma but Nate endured an additional painful moment that the rest of us didn’t.  

Nate in happier days!

It was an hour before completion of CLDT training at Fort Bliss. Overall it was a lackluster experience for my OS and I best leave it at that. Putting it mildly, Nate was ready for it to be over and to return to West Point for the beginning of his “firstie” aka senior year. Prior to leaving the base, Nate was relieving stress by joking around and wrestling with some of the other guys. The next thing he knew a much larger NCO (non-commissioned officer) pounced on Nate and threw him backwards. As he dropped to the ground, Nate heard the dreaded pop in his left knee.

In 2007, Nate first heard that “pop” during a soccer game. It marked the end of his soccer season for the year. My OS was 17 when he had knee surgery and began a long rehab for a torn meniscus and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). In time, he recovered well and was resolute in absolutely never having to relive that experience ever again. 

But the Lord had other plans on August 5th. Now on Wednesday, Nate returns to the operating room. Not in the comfortable environs of our hometown but this time at West Point. And on the same knee no less! Tomorrow my middle OS Aaron and I travel to New York to be with Nate before and after the surgery. According to the surgeon, my OS will have a different operation to fix the problem. Based on Nathan’s future job as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army, the surgeon advised him to have a patellar tendon graft. This is a harder surgery with a tougher rehab and an uglier scar but it insures better results for his long-term success. I guess you could say Nate will have a Soldier’s Knee.

My boy will have to summon a great deal of strength to heal from this surgery. With the help of his fellow cadets (let it be so!) and his faith in the Lord, I know he can do this but I hate that I will be so far away. Would it really be that awkward if I just stayed in the barracks and promised to not be a bother??? ūüėČ He will return back to class almost immediately whereas the last time, Nate recovered at home for nearly two weeks. Four years ago I could take care of him. I brought him food, as a family we helped him. Nate had plenty of visitors and attention, we all rallied around him. Now I will only be able to stay for a few days. His dorky brothers even had daily competitions on who could collect the most urine in the handy receptacle near his bedside, I doubt anyone is going to volunteer for that job! 

This is a leg brace; however when I had my ACL surgery
I called it the most horrible orthopedic device
ever created! How I loathed that thing!
Be of good courage, Nate! You can doey it!

Nate will be in a full leg immobilizer for six weeks. He’ll be hobbling all over the base and be expected to fully participate in West Point activities. Jesus knows my heart and hears my prayers. 

So to the extent I feel comfortable, I’m sharing part of my prayer with you, dear friends.

Suddenly plebe year is looking a lot easier
than recovering from ACL surgery AGAIN! 


As you well know, I don’t understand the reason for this injury but I don’t have to comprehend all your ways. You don’t ask for my permission and I realize that. Forgive me as I acknowledge my weakness in this area for even questioning your sovereignty about why this happened again. Lord, in your perfect time, speak to me and give me ears to hear. Calm my anxious mama’s heart and allow me to trust You through this process. Reveal to my boy new things about who You are. Bless my child with Your presence when he is in pain and feeling discouraged. Surround him with the compassion and kindness of others and allow my boy to notice your manifold blessings. Though I will not always be near my son, you promise in your Word to never leave or forsake us. You never sleep, you are always present and that is a comfort to me. Lord, though his knees aren’t the greatest (!) you and I both know Nate is tough but so very tender hearted, thank you for fearfully and wonderfully making him this way. Because of You, he can do this hard thing! In Jesus’ name, amen.
One of my sweetest blessings = my boy

Thanks y’all for praying for Nate and caring enough to read this post…

Getting back to me

There’s nothing that gets me more in the writing mood than sitting in a doctor’s office waiting for a person who’s having a colonoscopy! Not sure what about this experience is inspiring me but to hear my fingers tapping away on the keyboard feels good. The chair I’m sitting in is ridiculously uncomfortable so I need something to get my mind off of the 90 minutes I’ll be here. I mean, there’s only so much tv I can watch and I’ve read the entire paper. I’ve checked facebook too many times already, so I thought I’d do something productive.

Since my last post, I have debated whether to write much about what I’ve been doing. I haven’t wanted my blog to be medical or pitiful but I have been struggling with health issues lately. One has been fibromyalgia (a new diagnosis), the other is depression (a recurrent battle). Not sure which one came first but after dealing with ongoing pain and feeling utterly hopeless, I dragged my sad self to the rheumatologist and started crying. I was at the point of terrible despair and when I left her office, I felt like I had a chance at a normal (whatever that is) life. I began some medication, made critical lifestyle changes and those things have helped me tremendously.

During this time, I asked the Hubs to pray for me. I know he has. He has asked others to pray for me and I’m sure he’s felt clueless on how to help me. When I wasn’t sure how much lower I could go and spent wayyyyyy too much time on the couch, I started to feel afraid that I was going to break my foot again. I felt unstable on my feet and envisioned another injury. I would hang onto a chair railing or the Hubs for fear of falling. Literally, I have found myself leaning on the Hubs. He, along with the Lord, have been my strength. He has made me laugh, supported me in every way, I love him dearly.

It’s been about three weeks since my doctor appointment and I was overjoyed when recently, I found myself bounding effortlessly up the stairs. Part of “me” has been coming back. I am walking without fear emotionally and physically!

And I have been exercising. I learned that it is absolutely critical for me to stay physically active. My doctor recommended this DVD and I began doing it immediately. Although it is a little cheesy, I have been faithfully using it and noticing the results. If you are looking for an exercise program that is adaptable and encouraging, I think these are great! Exercising in the comfort and privacy of my own home has been a better choice for me than the gym at least for right now.

Recently I was talking to my oldest OS and in previous conversations, I shared with him that I had really been struggling. Since he’s a young, busy man with his own life, I wasn’t sure if he recognized his mama’s plight.

But I was wrong.

We were talking on the phone recently and I said, “Nathan, I have something to tell you…” My OS made a dry-witted, West Point tough comment and I interrupted him, “Seriously, Nathan, listen to me. I want you to hear this. I am feeling better.” Then I heard words I wasn’t expecting.

“That’s great, Mom. I’ve been praying for you.” Oh, dear friends, I nearly dropped to the ground with thankfulness. He said something else to me also. “I’ve had some of my buddies praying for you too.”

The only thing sweeter to me than the thought of a group of Soldiers/Cadets praying for me is the image of my precious OS sitting around with his buddies and caring enough to ask for his friends to do so.

About the same time that I had seen the doctor and began implementing changes, my boy was lifting his struggling mama up to the Lord. I’m sure the things I have improved in my health but I also know that God’s Word is true.

Matthew 18:19-21 (New International Version)

 19“Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”

The colonoscopy is over, things went well. I need to go walk a couple of miles in my bedroom but it feels good to be back and sharing. More later on Nate’s television “appearance” and other life events. 

Do you have a mouth guard?


Since I was a little girl, I have loved puzzles. One of my favorite moments was when my dad would bring me home a puzzle.

In my daily life, I look for pieces of life. You know, things that inextricably fit together. On a good day, I’ll put those pieces together and have an “aha” or a praiseworthy moment. Other times I’ll be chastened because it’s obvious God is trying to teach me something.

Oh boy, if you have been following my blog lately, it should be apparent that we have had a lot of “puzzling” moments! OY!

And so I thought I’d share with you some awesome pieces I put together today.

Months ago, I attended a Winter Sports Meeting at my OS’s school. Not particularly thrilling or dynamic but I paid attention when the principle cautioned parents of basketball players to purchase a mouth guard for their athletes.

After a few games, I had legitimate fears of Ike’s teeth flying all over the court and immediately purchased the mouth guard. Ike was threatened within an inch of his life if he didn’t wear it while playing. Yet there was one game where he forgot the mouth guard completely and many others where that mouth guard has been perched partially out of his mouth providing absolutely no protection for his pearly whites. My eyes would bulge out of my head and he would experience my wrath from the bleachers if I didn’t see the mouth guard exactly where it needed to be. We affectionately call them motherly death rays…

Then we had our “humbling moments” and our Apology Tour. On Friday night, after Isaac was fast asleep, I decided to future torture myself by folding a load of laundry. I opened the dryer door and what did I see staring right at me? Yes, Isaac’s mouth guard. (This photo is a dramatic re-enactment.)

At first I felt like Satan was poking me in the eye. Like the Devil was sayingHaha, Loooser! Some mom you are! I guess you won’t be needing that mouth guard anymore now will you? Hmmmm?” I could see the Father of Lies snickering and doing some serious knee-slapping revelling in the misery of our sadness and disappointment. Jerk.

Along with the clean clothes, I held the mouth guard and truly felt a profound sadness clutching it in my mama’s hands. It represented embarrassment, shame, hopes dashed, hurt and fear. I wanted to throw it out.

But as the weekend pro- gressed, we could see some rays of hope. Ike was repentant and willing to make amends. Parents were willing to forgive and offer mercy. Three generations – grandmother, daughter, brothers, sons, father all held hands Saturday morning and prayed out loud, one after another for all aspects of this situation. And the mouth guard stayed away from the trash.

There are other puzzle pieces I might share in future posts regarding these recent incidents but I truly believe that the Lord placed that mouth guard in the dryer as a reminder to me.

Psalm 141:3 Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.

Ephesians 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Ephesians 5:4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.

In every day, Ike (and me and maybe even you, no offense) need to wear a mouth guard. Maybe not an ugly plastic one but one that protects us and others from unkind words, filthy talk and gossip. My orange hair, freckle-face teenage OS confessed to me that nasty words fly out easier on the basketball court. No duh! Now we have yet another reason his mouth guard must remain in the position where it was designed. From the bleachers, I am on the look-out making sure my OS’s mouth guard is where it’s supposed to be.

Puzzle pieces everywhere. When this whole thing started, I thought the nice mom calling me was placing an order for an apron – WRONG! But I am ever thankful for what she ultimately gave me – refining moments which are teaching us as we relentlessly, endlessly love each other and our Lord.

What I Can Do For My Sons


Since my son began his 47 month journey at the United States Military Academy, I have heard and read many statements from him.

“Mom, I have thrown a live grenade.”
“Ma, today I went to the gas chamber.”
Madre, (one of his nicknames for me), I flew in a Chinook.”

From each one of those sentences I have needed a minute to recover. Those are awkward statements I never expected to read from a child of mine, especially if you knew my background. Being a mom is an adventure even when I’m not the one rappelling down a mountain or firing a rifle. And in the case of my other two OS, motherhood is equally exciting and I’m even not on the football field, or on stage, or kicking the soccer ball or trying to finish a leaf project. OY!

Lately though I’ve been especially blessed when my oldest OS has reached out and asked me for things. I’m not talking about protein bars and new undies which he has requested and I am happy to send but…

I love the other thing my son has asked for and that is for prayer.

My son had a two minute sparring match in boxing class this week. He was concerned about getting his nose broken. His nose was still sore from the previous class and I guess he likes his nose in the position and shape it’s been in for the¬†last 18 years. While talking to him over the phone, my boy asked if I would pray for him.¬†

Oh it was my privilege to lift my son up to the Lord! And I took the request seriously! We prayed over the phone; my DH and I prayed for him; I asked for prayer for my son on my facebook; we joined hands in prayer around the dinner table. Let me tell ya, that nose was covered in prayer! Nothing or no one was going to mess with that little nose and I’m thrilled to say that my son’s beautiful nose is still nice and straight although apparently he jacked up the other guy’s neck. I now need to pray for that young man!

Homework is also stressing him out. Last night, we got an email asking for prayer. We again petitioned the Lord to give our son a peace that passes understanding and success in accomplishing all the tasks at hand.

Peter Kreeft, author and professor at Boston College said, “I strongly suspect that if we saw all the difference even the tiniest of our prayers make, and all the people those little prayers were destined to affect, and all the consequences of those prayers down through the centuries, we would be so paralyzed with awe at the power or prayer that we would be unable to get up off our knees for the rest of our lives.”¬†

Isn’t that an amazing perspective? I have that quote in a special scrapbook I created during a very difficult time in our family. How apropos as I learn to be the mama of a Soldier! I get to pray for my son. NOTHING can stop me. I can’t do his homework or block the punches that will come his way, literally and figuratively but this mama, above all else can pray! My boy can rest in knowing that he comes from a praying family no matter the circumstances or distances which separate us.¬†

It is so good to know that our God considers all prayers important. I am humbled to trust in a Lord who thinks that prayers for my son’s nose are as precious as prayers for my friend who is fighting a mighty battle against cancer. I find it incredible that the same God who hears my prayers on behalf of my boy for help with homework is listening also to another¬†mom’s prayers for complete healing of her daughter’s heart condition.

Praying is a gift that I receive and give freely. In my work, I have spoken to many hurting teenagers. Often I will tell them after hearing their heavy troubles that tonight there will be five people who hold hands around a kitchen table and lift them up to the Lord. And I mean it. 

Who do you know that needs prayer? Extend that priceless privilege to others and let me know if our family can pray for you.