I love plants.  I’m sure this comes as no surprise for those of you who know me.  I have many houseplants, too many gardens, and dreams of more even though I struggle to maintain what I already have.  I love them not only for their beauty and life, but for their metaphor.  Plants offer a vocabulary for what many struggle to express with words.  They speak in simple terms about nature and nurture, about rest and struggle, about quiet and solitude, and about life and death.

I was watering one particular plant today when it occurred to me that this peace lily needed a prune.  The tall, gangly stalks had grown bedraggled and torn, and quietly underneath them whispered abundant fresh, baby green growth.  Now this plant does not actually belong to me; it was a gift for my dear friend after the death of her mother almost two years ago. After being neglected during a holiday break, my friend and I had returned to school to find the plant struggling, barely alive.  I nursed it back to health with a lot of water and some serious pruning.  As it needed more attention, I took it home to repot it and provide more attention than would be available at school.  The plant has experienced a difficult year.  There were times after I repotted it that I was certain I had killed it.  There were times after I pruned it that I was certain I had killed it.  There were times after I moved it to sunnier or shadier places that I was certain I had killed it.  And yet it lived to finally (insert deep, relieved breath here) produce healthy new starts.


My heart ached for my friend as I realized that this has been her story also.  Thankfully, I do not know what it’s like to lose a parent, but with my own experience of loss I can certainly relate to death’s impact, the grieving process, and the ways we emerge from those experiences.  Like the lily, my friend experienced trauma:  confusion, grief, anger, wilting…She had no choice but to move on from that loss, but how does one do that exactly?  There’s no manual, no Idiot’s-Guide-to. So we stumble forward – a little too much water here, a little too much neglect there.  Maybe we try a new pot – new rituals, new definitions of a life we thought we had figured out.  Sometimes it’s too sunny so we readjust.  Sometimes it’s too shady and we yearn for the sun we once knew.


We wish desperately for time to move faster to release us from this torrent of unchosen new.  And it is time that helps to heal, every day, while we do the work of breathing and slowly unfurling; learning new rituals, new patterns, new norms. Yet even when time has blessed us and we have slowly learned the new dance rhythms, there is at times a pruning that must still occur.  For the dance has two steps forward, but one step back.  And when we step back, we do the hard work of re-membering, re-grieving, re-living, and honoring what once was, before it’s time to yet again move forward.  


We have to decide what to hold on to as those steps backward become less painful yet more crucial.  How do we honor the time we had with those we loved?  Sometimes the memories we cling to become too burdensome and only hide the new growth yearning to thrive underneath.  Do we hold tightly to the ways they failed us?  To the ways we failed them?  Does this keep us from moving forward?  If we let it go, what peace may await?  What sacred new growth emerges as we prune?

new growth


Pruning is hard work.  It takes time, self-awareness, vulnerability, and courage, but it produces a more fertile place within us from which we are able to love better, and reflect our loved one’s vibrant beauty to all those around us.  We offer our new growth, our vitality to our loved ones and our communities.  And we are not alone when we do the hard work.  There are many who are ready to walk alongside us as we grieve, breathe, and learn our new dance.

Posted on July 22nd, 2017 by LilBS  |  1 Comment »

The Work of Christmas

I found myself praying for strangers as I was Christmas shopping this year – the stress on people’s faces, the grim looks as dollar after dollar was being spent on STUFF. Stuff the stockings, stuff the boxes, stuff the houses… how many were in the very act of putting themselves in debt. It felt extremely HEAVY.
I love Christmas for what it represents to me as a Christian. I love the way it still feels magical as friends and family (and even strangers) reach out in loving ways toward one another. But I DON’T love what our westernized culture (myself included) has allowed Christmas to become.
In a prayer I read to my students yesterday, it said that “Heaviness is not from my kingdom.” If Christmas was about the very incarnation of the kingdom here on earth, and that kingdom isn’t heavy, then what in the heck am I witnessing and participating in? And what should I be doing instead?


The work of Christmas


Posted on January 7th, 2017 by LilBS  |  No Comments »

It’s just a tattoo

Ring the bells (ring the bells) that still can ring

Forget your perfect offering

There is a crack in everything (there is a crack in everything)

That’s how the light gets in

                                              Leonard Cohen, “Anthem”                      



I don’t remember exactly when I decided to get one. After Kate died, I didn’t want to decide anything – not dinner, not whether the other girls needed a bath that night…certainly not anything big like moving out of that sacredly painful house like my husband was hell-bent on doing, as soon as physically and financially possible. The preschool moms provided dinners for weeks – food would just magically appear in the blue igloo cooler on my porch – no awkward thank yous or conversations necessary – it was a godsend. Some even included trinkets and gifts for the girls – another gift for me, as I did not have to help them decide what to play next.

But early on I did make one decision: if I couldn’t hold her in my arms, I would have a tattoo to memorialize the spot on my inner wrist where I cradled her head, where I physically held her body. It was also a place that felt exposed and vulnerable; a place where I can witness my life’s blood seemingly at the surface of my body, yet perceive the strength with which my own body wraps around itself, protecting and shielding.

Tattoos were not a “thing” then, a fad that have now become commonplace. I cannot remember what it was that inspired that decision; only that once I had decided, it would someday be. As a teenager, I always said I’d never get a tattoo unless it was something I loved so fervently, so passionately that I’d want it on my body for the rest of my life. Even with my decision made, this mantra, I found, was unchanged. And so 10 years passed with the decision made, yet no action. Around the 10-year anniversary of Kate’s death, I asked a beloved and talented friend if she would help me create this art for my body.

I knew I wanted to incorporate Kate’s name or initials, and I thought I wanted to incorporate a butterfly since that was such an important part of my recovery process (as if it’s a process that will ever end…). I did not, however, want a typical tattoo – an overt butterfly or obvious text. I’m still unwrapping my feelings on this, but from what I can observe so far, I wanted a symbol – a subtle story told with delicate lines and curves, an invitation to remember and retell, an opportunity to reconnect and feel. I wanted softness because she was soft and I am vulnerable. I wanted angles because I do not choose hard turns in my life, but they often choose me and what I do with those, often alter the trajectory of a life, of my story.

just a tattoo

just a tattoo

My sister told me I was brave. It occurred to me as I read her text that I was not only brave to willingly choose to encounter the physical pain, but that I am brave everyday I wear this tattoo – I offer my story to whomever may ask. I am brave because there will be days and times that I don’t want to walk down that specific road, but may have to anyway. I already experience this with family and friends who share this story, but now it’s an open invitation. And so I accept my sister’s wise acknowledgement – I am brave.

I am brave because I don’t tuck my girl in a box of photos and memories. I am brave because in tasting the sweet, I will forever taste the bitter, yet I still choose to partake in the meal. I am brave because I want to be open, be vulnerable, be real – and not be safe. I don’t believe I was put here on this Earth to just play it safe – although that would usually be my first choice, to be honest. But when I was at my emptiest, I was filled – just like the blue igloo cooler. I didn’t ask; I didn’t decide; I just simply received.

For Christmas this year, I gifted my family members jewelry made using a Japanese technique called “Kintsugi.” In this process, broken pottery is made whole again with gold – making the item stronger, more beautiful, and more valuable than when it was in its original form. This metaphor speaks loudly to my heart and my experience. Whether it’s pain, grief, failure, loss, or whatever makes us broken, it is in the long practice of healing and honoring that brokenness that we become better and stronger than before. But we are not mended to sit on a shelf and look pretty. My calling is to be a vessel of humble love and honesty – through my words here and my physical self out in the world – and share my self and Kate’s light from my broken, yet resilient vessel.

My decision – my tattoo – is my rebel cry of hope. Against my safe tendencies, against what this world often offers, against lies and avoidance…I say “no.” And I open my hands and offer my brave, vulnerable, humble kintsugi self.

just a tattoo

just a tattoo

Posted on December 30th, 2016 by LilBS  |  2 Comments »

On the Verge

Listen to your life.

See it for the fathomless mystery that it is

In the boredom and pain of it

no less than in the excitement and gladness:

touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it

because in the last analysis all moments are key moments,

and life itself is grace.

                                                    Frederic Buechner


My soul has been demanding that I write. Oh, I’ve been ignoring it for a good while, choosing instead to regain what I felt I lost as I was finishing my Master’s degree: time in my garden, time to exercise, time to read, time to clean, time with my family, time experiencing the present. I did that this summer, truly attempting to rest in the present moments. And although my closet still needs cleaned out – oh my gosh, the clothing pile has morphed into a mountain. (I’m not kidding, I’m pretty sure I saw a snowcap on it the last time I dared go in there.); and although my main garden is still a jungle (I’m pretty sure I lost my youngest child in there for a few days in August.); and although I didn’t clean every window in my house, I am proud to say that I did a decent job of staying present and finding joy in the simple moments.


Yet still my soul demanded…


…because in my attempt to stay present and connect with what had been put “on hold,” I was also avoiding a fear – what if I can no longer write? What if I am just repeating the same story? The same words? The same old me? People read my blog; people like my blog. I want to inspire, feel, create, gift, speak truth…not disappoint. I don’t know exactly where this fear came from, but I do know that I will not let it steal my voice anymore.


My friend Gina introduced me to a song yesterday called, “The Verge,” by Owl City and through some gentle nudging by the Spirit, I recognized that this is how I’m feeling these days – on the verge: of crying, of creating, of singing, of laughing, of fear, of joy. It’s rare that we are on the mountaintop or in the valley; we are most often on the verge of either.


And so…on the verge of something, and with a humble spirit, I write.


The other day I was driving Syd to work. I’ve been taking a different route over to Kings Island, where my beautiful girl is a singing, dancing cartoon character with a giant head, who delights many a young towhead like she once was. On this day, I had my two youngest – Colt and Ian – along for the ride, and on the way home, I decided to stop by the cemetery where Kate is buried. I’d driven this way a few times, and Ian had even asked me recently if we could “visit Kate,” but I had put it off.


A moment after I had decided to go to the cemetery, I stopped at a traffic light and waited to turn right. Glancing over to my left, I noticed a young, blonde child strapped into a carseat in the back of the car next to me. As I made eye contact, the child – pacifier in mouth – smiled at me. My breath caught in my throat and a sharp pain lanced my chest. I had seen this smile before from my Kate, and it was often behind the beloved paci. As the light turned green, and the cars shifted forward, the child smiled even bigger at me, and then waved.


Tears came to my eyes as I felt myself longing to follow that car and that smile. And I remembered another time when maybe a few weeks or months after Kate died (time was painfully irrelevant after the death of my child) and I was in the local Walmart. I had been behind a mother carrying a child in a black and white coat very similar to one I’d had Kate in that previous fall. I willed myself to look away and continue my shopping. But as I turned down the cosmetics aisle (an aisle I very rarely frequent), I had an irrational urge to follow that child and see its face. I turned back around and sought out the duo, walking around with my cart in an almost panicked state of mind, but I never found them.


I remember berating myself for such stupid behavior, but looking back I was just so desperate for a piece of her, for the smell of her hair, for the dimples on her hands…for the smile behind the paci. Those are the sacred pieces of the puzzle for me. It’s not the soccer trophy my 8 year old holds, it’s the oh-my-gosh-when-will-this-kid’s-teeth-grow-in grin right above it. It’s not the diploma still in its well-protected cardboard envelope on a dusty desk in my bedroom; it’s the conversations with classmates and professors that expanded and renewed a mind ready to be challenged once again. It’s not a perfect, inspirational blog; it’s the writing about simple, hallowed moments of ordinary life, which I have recorded before, and which I will continue to share.

On the Verge

On the Verge


Life is about being on the verge. It’s two little boys’ attempt to understand who this sister was and why she died and why they want to come visit her in this odd place none of their other friends understand. It’s about my 6 year old asking me if I was ok, and my 8 year old saying, “I’m sorry that happened to you, Mommy.” They are always on the verge of redefining Kate’s life and death as they mature. And I am always on the verge of the same damn thing.


I’m teaching the story of Joseph to my freshmen. At the end of the story, Joseph tells his brothers who plotted to kill him and who sold him into slavery that they had planned all of it for evil, but God had used it for good, for in a crazy series of events, Joseph had become second in command of Egypt and had been able, then, to feed his family during the famine. Talk about forgiveness and grace and humility and REDEMPTION; this has become one of my favorite passages in the bible.


I know God has Kate. And I know God is still redeeming her death in ways that I don’t even understand yet. When I can’t hold her hand, THAT is the hope that I cling to. But, oh my goodness, am I thankful for that smile behind the paci. Because, you see, I’m always on the verge of seeing my girl once again.



Posted on October 21st, 2016 by LilBS  |  2 Comments »

Being in the moment

being in the moment

being in the moment

This has been a ridiculously, stupendously busy year.  I am full time teaching after being off for 14 years; I’m enrolled full time in graduate school, pursuing a master’s degree in Religious Studies; and I’m still running this crazy household.  When friends ask me how I’m doing, how my life is going, all I can say is this line,”It’s really good.  I love everything I’m doing while I’m doing it.”  While this is absolutely true, it’s been bothering me that this is all I can think to say.  So I did a little intentional thinking about this the other day.  How am I really doing?

First, I am filled with joy.  Oh, I am stressed out –  a lot.  Organizing 5 kids on 4+ sports teams:  carpools, snacks, meals, all on a budget, and trying not to forget anyone at any given time or field… it’s a lot to manage.  Finding time to plan and grade for 140 freshman students whom I dearly love and desire to provide great, meaningful education…it’s a lot to manage.  Squeezing in chunks of quiet time in which to read fabulously deep books on theology and writing the necessary papers and assignments that accompany quality grad. classes…it’s a lot to manage.  But there is much joy to be found in all of these activities.  It shows up in the conversations I get to have with my kids when we’re in the car, driving to yet another practice.  It shows up when those students are genuinely shocked that I sent out a quick email letting them know I’m thankful for them.  It shows up as I’m using parts of my brain that have been dormant for so very long.  I am truly joy-filled.

being in the moment

being in the moment

I have such amazing support.  My husband and kids love me in the midst of my insanity.  My family and Rob’s family – especially those Grandmas – have made themselves available in so many ways – caring for these 5 lucky kids,  caring for me in practical, loving ways.  Friends who listen to me whine, treat me with suprise doughnuts, jump out of running cars for much-needed hugs, reach out through quick emails and texts…I am loved in all the ways I need to be, and much more.  And I know that I am lifted up in prayer.  That, along with spirit-provided comfort and inspiration, is the only way I am walking through this and am still fairly upright, and mostly-remembering to breathe.

As I contemplate my joy and my aforementioned response to my current life, I think the way I’m feeling is HOME.  I am home in my body, in my spirit, in my soul.  I’m not complete, and am still pretty much a mess (my house reflects this), but I am more perfectly me than I have ever been before in these 42 years.  THIS is the biggest blessing of my life right now.  I’ve always been a performer.  I put on “Becky-shows” for whatever needs I anticipated my audience may have.  And I’ve been really good at this, if I do say so myself – which I do.  And it’s not all been a lie, a piece of my true-Becky is included in every performance for the low, low price of free!  But at the heart of every performance now is… me.  This is where my life thus far has brought me – home to me.  So when I’m performing now, it’s rooted in authenticity and (I almost wrote maturity – which is hilarious, and would be much-debated!) this giant store of love I’ve received.

being in the moment

being in the moment

And how does one put all of that into a simple response to, “How are you?”  I guess, just the way I’ve been answering will have to do.  No, I don’t watch much tv and I don’t sit down much, I don’t exercise as much as I’d like to, and right now I don’t have time to read or write much for pleasure (although I”ve gifted myself this time today for my birthday).  My garden will probably be a mess again this year, and I’ve sent more than one kid to soccer practice in a semi-clean (who am I kidding – dirty) jersey… But I am loving everything I’m doing while I’m doing it.  Even in the most stressful moments or the painful ones that are prevalent in this broken world, I am acutely aware of the ways I am held…and blessed.  There’s a lot of ugly amidst the beautiful…but I choose to focus on the beautiful.

There is much that is sacred in my ordinary life.  And I’m so very thankful for every moment.

Posted on March 28th, 2015 by LilBS  |  No Comments »



I haven’t been reading much for pleasure this summer.  (Although I HAVE been finding much pleasure in the books I’ve been reading for grad. school!)  But I snuck in the excellent novel, Orphan Train a few weeks ago.  There was a concept that was key to the story, something I have heard about before but struck me with new significance at this different place I’m at right now in my life.  This concept was called portaging.  Imagine you are on a canoe trip where the river dries up or becomes so low that it’s necessary to carry your canoe along the bank until the next river begins, or the current river reaches a level you can once again properly navigate your canoe. You would need to pack light, carrying only the essentials, otherwise the canoe would be too loaded down and you would be unable to move along to the next point of your journey.

2014 has been a year of portage for me.  This year of transition has been a time where I am sifting through my collection of thoughts, lessons, and experiences from the last 14 years, deciding what the essentials are that I’m going to carry with me as I prepare for the next leg of my journey.  I’m sure as I paddle into this new adventure, I will continue to realize essential items I will need to hold close, but here is the list as it stands right now.

1.  Creativity.  I didn’t realize how fundamental a need this is for me – and I would say, for all of us.  This looks different for me every single day, but it’s such a soul-engaging NEED that it makes the top of this list.  I need to do something creative nearly every single day.  Painting a bookshelf, baking brownies, weeding my garden, moving furniture, writing a blog, etc.  It is a discipline to allow myself to be creative.  It is a way to connect with who I am created to be.  It fulfills a need within me that then allows me to be a better wife and mother ~ and person.

2.  Bittersweetness.  I stand rooted in hope and grief.  Like a flower that emerges stronger because of those creatures who gave their lives to feed the soil I’m planted within, I carry with me the yin and yang of this life.  As I proudly watch my children mature, I weep with the loss of their childhood.  Though I mourn my sweet girl, I am thankful for lessons learned in the wake of that tragedy.  Like the seasons that change, I too am evolving and learning to recognize these changes as opportunities for growth or rest.

Kate's Lily

Kate’s Lily

3.  Honoring the moment.  Not typically one to plan, I usually live for the moment.  Learning to HONOR the moment, however, is a different, crucial element.  When I can let go of expectations and rest in the present moment, I fully engage and experience the sacredness within that moment.  Whether I’m teaching my boys how to brush their teeth (again), listening to my girls complain about one another (again), folding laundry (again), or laughing during a family dinner, if I am concentrating on those people in that moment instead of the thousand other things that may need to be addressed, then I am honoring that moment ~ that relationship.

4.  “I’m tired” can be translated in a variety of ways.  I say this a lot.  Too much.  It is usually true, but there’s often an undercurrent that lies just beneath this surface, beckoning me deeper.  Sometimes “I’m tired” means “I need to talk.”  Sometimes it means “I’m feeling sad.”  Sometimes it means “I just need some time to myself.”  I have learned that I am so quick to dismiss my feelings that I often fail to even recognize or name them.  When I hear myself saying, “I’m tired,” I’m learning to pay attention.

5.  Coffee.  Goodness gracious, however did I live without this beverage?  I started drinking coconut frappachinos and now drink it black, although I appreciate its multitude of subtleties and uses.  Though coffee is indeed important, it also serves as a metaphor to me that sometimes I need help making it through my day.  My first inclination is to muscle through any situation by myself, but in reality I am better served (and a better servant to others!) when I admit that I need help.

Just one more cup...

Just one more cup…

6.  Less of me leaves more room for Him.  Perspective is powerful.  When I enter into a situation with my own prejudices, my own preconceived notions, I influence and manipulate that situation often without even realizing it.  If my goal is to be a vessel for divine love to be shared with others, I need to ask for help to make it not about me, but about using my life and experiences to serve a greater good.  This is something I need to ask not just daily, but in every waking moment, so that it becomes as natural as breathing.

It is too difficult to sum up 14 years of stay-at-home-motherhood in one blog post.  But as I portage to this next stage, I carry with me essential, valuable components that will help guide me through this next passage.  It’s an interesting question, isn’t it?  What essentials are you carrying with you throughout your travels?


Posted on July 21st, 2014 by LilBS  |  No Comments »

Joy is a Choice

When I lost Kate, I was 5 months pregnant with our first son, Ty. Of course, this precipitated extra concern for his welfare, as he was being housed by a grieving mother.  But without much conscious thought, my instincts kicked in and I was able to feed my body (seriously, when have I EVER failed to feed this body?!) and this new baby in the way that he needed to be nourished.

4 months later our serious, thoughtful, sensitive baby boy entered our world. I won’t lie and say I felt the same kind of joy as during the births of our girls, but there was something even more powerful born that day – the promise of joy. And for a mother who was still reeling from the shock and suffering that accompanies losing a child, that promise was something beautiful and tangent. In Ty’s birth, more than perhaps any event in my life, I was reminded (or maybe it was then that I first truly learned) that joy can be a choice.

Joy is a Choice

Joy is a Choice

Joy is a choice.

One of my favorite authors, Ann Voskamp, says “Gratitude precedes the miracle.”  This is so much more than a quote to me – it is the air I breathe. For it is in being thankful for the time I had with Kate that I am able to continue living without her. It was in being thankful for this baby boy, that I was able to choose and feel joy again.

It was a miracle.

Joy is a Choice

Joy is a Choice

That serious, joy-reminding baby how now become a rambunctious, intelligent, athletic, 8 year old. I cannot fathom how that happened so very quickly, but here we are. He is still so very sensitive – I often wonder if it’s because of what he endured in the womb as we were connected in my physical and emotional grief. It is one of the many mysteries held deep within this mother’s heart. And he continues to teach me how to choose joy, only now it’s in the form of smelly, tousled, soccer-practiced hair and perennially dirty fingernails messy from prying up carefully-placed rocks from my flower garden.

He teaches me to choose joy when he says no to my embrace and yes to Dad’s. He teaches me to choose joy when there is roller skating AND basketball-playing AND Skylander-tossing AND Keith Urban-singing ALL at the same time. He teaches me to choose joy even as I stumble and flail about, entering this new boy-mom territory that involves so much more more than the boy manuals teach.

Joy is a Choice

Joy is a Choice

I am so thankful for my Ty-Ty. And in that, the miracle abounds wrapped in grace and hope and love.  I choose joy. Thank you, buddy.





Posted on April 10th, 2014 by LilBS  |  3 Comments »

“Yes” to 41

I turned 41 today. And if I had to describe this day in one word, it would be “Yes.”

Yes to 5 kids and 1 husband singing an outrageously racous version of Happy Birthday complete with Cha-Cha-Cha’s and whoops and hollers.

Yes to handmade cards that said, “I love you Becky” (from the 6 yr. old) and an original song performed which included the lyrics, “You teach me that I’m special just the way I am.”

Yes to the newly-turned 4 year old remembering to wish me a Happy Birthday before he asked for his strawberry milk.

Yes to specialty cake eaten with coffee – for breakfast.

Yes to a shower that wasn’t rushed.

Yes to the necklace that physically reminds me of her presence when her body cannot.

Yes to a BMV where people are smiling and to (FINALLY) replacing that 9 months-pregnant picture from 4 years ago.

Yes to a (DOUBLE) fish filet meal and permission to eat the whole, entire thing by myself – ’cause GIMME THAT FISH.

Yes to candles in fudgery and the true fire of the Holy Spirit resplendant in 4 lovely women.

Yes to casual conversation with 2 of the most important forces in my life – my mom and my husband.

Yes to guilt-free Candy Crush.

Yes to starting the week’s laundry because that’s just what I do to serve this family I love.

Yes to ignoring the sink full of dishes because sometimes time is better spent throwing headers to the soccer girl.

Yes to an IPA with fudge, and altogether too many calories for one day, and just being okay with it because you only turn this age one time.

Yes to run-on sentences just for the sake of run-on sentences that follow this crazy, blessed stream of consciousness.

Yes to Facebook for connecting me with old and new and temporary and permanent friends who took a few seconds out of their day to bless mine.

And Yes to 2014 and 41 for all the days I’ve had and the days yet to come – the struggle and the light and the change and the love.



Posted on March 28th, 2014 by LilBS  |  No Comments »

A Pinhole in the Pail

“I need you.”

These words make me cringe.  I think, “just love me, help me, and hug me… The End.”  – It’s all I want in a tidy little package. But NEED? From my husband? I already have five little people who need me. They need breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They need that soccer uniform washed, the lost knee pad found, the refrigerator fixed, the three dollars for lunch, the permission to walk to Frisch’s after school with friends, the discipline that follows hitting a younger brother, the birthday party RSVP’d, the homework assistance, the reading practice, the chauffeur to everything and everywhere,




And what about my own needs? I need to buy new toothbrushes for everybody; I need to wash the kitchen floor; I need to finish the book I started; I need to sleep. Oh, how I need to sleep.

So why do you have to NEED me, husband? Daggonit. Can’t you see I’m busy over here?

But that’s really the question for me to answer, isn’t it? Why am I “OVER HERE?” Why is this my go-to perspective – that it’s me against the world? It’s one of the things I’ve learned about myself: that it’s a built-in defense mechanism or survival skill to go into “survival mode.” It’s not pretty. I wear righteous anger and frustrated martyrdom like the mythological Cerberus.  Impenetrable walls lock in place with a single snap and I’m ready to go. Bring on the most complicated schedules, details, and NEEDS – I’ve got this.

But then Ann reminds me (Ann Voskamp who penned and LIVES One Thousand Gifts):

“The best use of time is to freely love.

The best way to love is to spend time.

The best time to love is always right now.”


“A pail with a pinhole loses as much as the pail pushed right over. A whole life can be lost in minutes wasted, small moments missed.”

It’s challenging enough to remember this with the 5 little people who paw me, claw me, and wrap their bear-hug-arms around me while clambering into my lap every chance they (and I) get. It’s harder yet to remember this with the 1 big person sitting across the room, trying to wait patiently for the mama to remember that she was first a friend and a wife.

So after they’re tucked into their beds, soft slow breaths…tousled hair…adorned with dancing puppies, smiling Broby, fuzzy hearts, adorable abominable snowmen, and yesterday’s soccer clothes…

I ignore the laundry basket and the overflowing sink and the strange smell coming out of the basement…

and I go sit by the one who needs me. And we don’t have stimulating conversation or figure out our finances or really do anything except sit and rest in the presence of one another. Because I need him too.

“And this, this is the only way to slow time: When I fully enter time’s swift current, enter into the current moment with the weight of all my attention, I slow the torrent with the weight of me all here. I can slow the torrent by being all here. I only live the full life when I live fully in the moment. Weigh down this moment in time with attention full, and the whole of time’s river slows, slows, slows.“  ~ One Thousand Gifts


Posted on March 25th, 2014 by LilBS  |  No Comments »

“Again, Again.”

It’s rare when I get a moment to relax with my husband. At all hours of the day there are things that separate us physically – stress, paperwork, laptops, frustration, and a myriad of children’s legs, arms, mopheads of hair…

But there are some evenings when the stars align and bedtimes work and if Benadryl is involved I’m not saying, when we have a moment together to breathe.  We had one of these moments two nights ago and we were chatting and enjoying some evening television when a commercial came on (I can’t even remember what it was advertising) and a toddler voice said, “Again, again.”

And it was like Kate, speaking to me. I was immediately transported to our old house on Tuscarora where I was sitting cross-legged on that bed where Sydney now sleeps, pajama’ed Kate on my lap reading:

“The sun has set not long ago/now everybody goes below/to take a bath in one big tub/with soap all over scrub, scrub, scrub/they hang their towels on the wall/and find pajamas, big and small/with some on top and some beneath/they brush and brush and brush their teeth.”

(from The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton)

I could feel her wispy hair brushing my chin and see her chubby cheeks as she turned her head and with paci squeezed between teeth said, “Again, again.” And I would begin again – because with that request, how couldn’t I? It’s one of my most cherished memories of my girl. That book shares the sacred space with her earthly body because that’s how I remember her best, curled up in my lap cheerfully demanding, “Again, again!”

And it makes me happy, and of course sad.

And I shared that memory with my husband and we just sat with it. And held each other. And I just knew in my gut that there was something more to hearing that little toddler voice again. So I tucked it away in my heart, ready for when that “more” would unfold.

Today I read on Ann Voskamp’s website the word “Radaph” or pursued. And how God is pursuing and even chasing us. And it struck a chord in me.  When I am blessed with specific memories about my time with Kate, though always (always) tinged with bittersweetness, I feel as if I’ve received a gift. I admit that I am often weak and pray specifically to “know” that Kate is okay, or that I can get (another) affirmation that she is safe in his arms. These instances such as this random commercial provide this affirmation and remind me of not only how much God loves me, but how much he still pursues me with that love.

“God is so bent on blessing – he chases.  And God’s blessings don’t pursue temporarily – but relentlessly. It’s right there in his Word: His goodness and mercy pursue me not just some days – but all the days of my life. No shadow of death can overshadow the goodness and mercy that shadows the child of God.” (A. Voskamp)

One of my greatest fears following Kate’s death was that I would never see the way God would redeem that loss. But he pursues me with his love and that redemption, maybe not in the large impactful ways I demanded, but in the small voice of a toddler reminding me of great love and patience and connection.

Posted on March 14th, 2014 by LilBS  |  No Comments »