Month: February 2013

What love looks like when your parents die

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One of my favorite blogs in the entire world is Life In Grace.  Their house burnt down Christmas 2010 and she has been such an inspiration to me over the past two years. I’m a day late, but I’m linking up over at her blog, talking about what love looks like.

It only took me a few seconds to decide what to share with you today. When I think about what love looks like, and what it’s like to love on purpose, I think of my husband on June 12th, 2012.

On June 12th, 2012 I called Pat at work at about 10:00 am. I had been on the phone for two hours prior with my sister, my brother, the sheriff’s office, the marina in Platte, and my mom and dad’s work places.

“Can you please come home? We think something is really wrong.”

Mom and Dad were missing.  They hadn’t arrived at work that morning. They weren’t answering our calls or texts.  After calling the marina in Platte, we were told their boat was still there, anchored in the marina. After that no one would tell us anything.

As soon as Pat got home, he, Tracy and I got in the car and headed for Platte. The drive was a little over two hours. Two hours to think and pray and worry and plead with God to not let this really be happening.  We didn’t say much along the way. I looked out the window and let myself cry quietly. Pat would periodically reach up to me and squeeze my shoulder or grab my hand.

We got to the Platte Marina and ran down to the police tape and were told that Mom and Dad had died on the boat due to carbon monoxide poisoning (or at least that was what they thought at the time).  I screamed and clung to Pat. I don’t remember if he cried out or not but I know that he held me up and he grabbed on to Tracy too.

He then made the first of the two most difficult calls he would probably ever have to make. He called Danelle, who was on the way down from Aberdeen. She was still probably an hour away. He told her to pull over and had to tell her that Mom and Dad were gone. He then offered to go meet her and drive her down. After awhile she decided that she could make it down.

We stood on the road and on the rocks along the shore of the Marina, while the investigators waited for the carbon monoxide to dissipate so they could go on the boat. We waited when they were eventually able to go on the boat. We waited while they carried our beloved parents off.

All the while Pat was there. He made phone calls, he answered phone calls, he talked with the sheriff and investigators, he hugged us and cried with us and helped us make decisions and gave sound advice.

Making phone calls and answering phone calls might not seem like a huge deal. But for all of us it was the most profound way that he was able to show his love. Looking back I don’t think that we really recognized the pain that he must have been in. He was so close with Mom and Dad. And yet I didn’t see him weep or break down and rarely even cry. I’m sure he did. But in front of us and for us, he was strong.

There were many times when my phone would ring and I would immediately pass it to him. He didn’t question or ask who it was or sigh or roll his eyes or get upset or annoyed. He took my phone and answered the call and took care of whatever it was. He took care of us.

When my brother Jim called at 2:00 pm on Wednesday the 13th, he and Leana just arriving into Chicago from South Africa, I said hello, started crying and then passed the phone to Pat. The second most difficult call. Pat knew exactly what to say. I don’t know if he had been rehearsing or what but we hadn’t asked him to be the one to tell Jim. It just turned out that way. And once again, Pat loved us on purpose. He did what the rest of us couldn’t do. For the next four days while we prepared for the memorial service and then after while we tried to sort through our grief and anger and pain and garage after garage and room after room of stuff, Pat was there. He loved us on purpose.

Over 8 months later, Pat continues to love on purpose. When I don’t come to bed until 2:00 am, for the third night in a row, because I can’t close my eyes without revisiting that day, he doesn’t get upset or tell me to get over it or demand that I get my crap together.  When I have the third helping of dessert, even though I’m 20 lbs overweight (and counting) he doesn’t give me the look or say anything. When I tell him I can’t make supper and I’m just feeling sorry for myself and the house is a disaster – no really, a complete disaster – and there’s laundry overflowing and dishes overflowing and toys and papers and books and blankets and more laundry overflowing, he doesn’t say a word. He continues to love me on purpose. He teases me and tells me I’m hot and tells the kids not to watch so he can kiss kiss me and does the dishes and the laundry and talks in a funny voice and makes us laugh and cooks amazing meals and puts the kids to bed.

Maybe I have changed. Maybe before June 12th I was so caught up in the rat race of life that I didn’t realize that all along my husband was loving me and our family on purpose.  But whatever changed – whether it was me or him, or more than likely both of us – I’m so thankful for him. I’m so thankful for his love. I’m so thankful for the legacy he is leaving for our kids and for his daily example of purposeful love.


Last night I was the tooth fairy

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We found out a few weeks ago that Angel had to have a root canal done. It’s not called a root canal because it’s a baby tooth, but basically the same thing. I think it was called crazy something.

Angel has been in so much pain. It’s been waking her up at night and I talked to them a few days ago and we decided it was probably better (smarter?) to just pull it.

So yesterday was the big day. She was so nervous as like most people in the world she hates the dentist. Before we went in we prayed in the car and she prayed too… “God please help me to not be scared and make it all better.”

Thank you Jesus for her sweet faith.

We have a great God and a huge faith in Him, but we still need the happy gas at the dentist! Here she is getting all happy gassed up. And listening to the dentist’s music, otherwise known as the radio. I had asked her before hand if she wanted to listen to the music on mommy’s phone because I have a kid’s playlist that we listen to a lot. She said, “No, the dentist has GREAT music!”


She was so funny! And she was so brave! I was so proud of her. Afterwards though she said it hurt and so we had a rough couple of hours.


“Don’t look at my mouth mama.”

Her appointment was at 9:00 am and by noon she was feeling better the Motrin was kicking in! And it’s a good thing because yesterday at school was their field trip to a gymnastics place. I snuck in during it and she was feeling great!


The evening was also great. She is like a totally different person. I feel so bad for all the times I was impatient with her the past few weeks – she was just in so much pain!

So last night I got to play tooth fairy. Since the kids don’t really get the concept of money yet we decided to get her a book. Thankfully she was exhausted and fell asleep pretty quick. It was so fun sneaking in there.

Sure enough she woke up in the middle of the night, sometime around 3:00 am, like she always does, and she comes running downstairs to tell us the tooth fairy came.

“The tooth fairy came!”

Pat wakes up and says, “Where?!”


Then Angel says, “She brought me a book and she took my tooth!”

Except of course she was yelling the whole time because she was so excited! And don’t tell her but the tooth fairy put her tooth in my special memory box. Ya, it’s kinda gross, but I just couldn’t make myself, or I mean the tooth fairy just couldn’t make herself throw it away yet.

I’m not sure if it’s actually legal for the tooth fairy to come when you lose a tooth because it was so decayed it had to be pulled! But I guess we’ll make an exception this one time. Or I guess we already did make an exception, huh.

Last night at bedtime Caleb prayed, “Please God help me lose all my teeth so I can get lots of presents.”

Oh dear. What have we done.



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I’ve been thinking alot lately about what it means to be faithful. Specifically about God being faithful. I could go on and on and even tell you personal stories of how people are so not faithful. And maybe I’ll talk more about that another time. But I’m thinking more about God and how He is always faithful. His word says a lot about it.

1 Chronicles 16:34 Give thanks to The Lord for he is good, His faithful love endures forever.

Psalm 31:5 I entrust my spirit into your hand.Rescue me, Lord, for you are a faithful God.

Psalm 57:10 For your unfailing love is as high as the heavens.Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.

Psalm 100:5 For the Lord is good.His unfailing love continues forever,and his faithfulness continues to each generation.

And that’s just the beginning.

God is faithful. It’s who He is. Regardless of you or me. Regardless of the choices we make. And regardless of His will.

It’s easy to say He is faithful when He rescues us from our own selfish choices. Of course He’s faithful then. Or even when we are faced with a horrible situation and He provides a way out or healing or restoration. Yep, He’s faithful.

But what about when things are happening in our life and He doesn’t rescue. What about when His answer to our pleas and cries are met with a “no” or “not yet” or “my ways are not your ways”? What about when the healing never comes? What about when the marriage isn’t saved, a heart isn’t changed? What about when a child is called home to heaven? What about when there seems to be no way past an addiction? What about when He takes your mom and dad and you don’t get to say goodbye?

When we are in the middle of those deep, dark valleys of life it is so easy to declare that He is not faithful.

But He is still faithful friends. He never ceases to be faithful. More than I ever have in my life, I have experienced and felt and clung to the faithfulness of God these past eight months. I’ve questioned His timing and His ways, but He has been present and faithful in so many ways.

He is faithful. No matter what you are enduring now or what may come tomorrow, I pray that you would come to trust in His timing and His ways and know that He is still faithful.

Trust me

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Have you ever had God call you to do something that was a little bit out of your comfort zone? Ok, how about alot out of your comfort zone? How about out of other people’s comfort zone?

What? Other people’s comfort zone?

I think know God is calling me to something. I don’t really know yet what it is, but let me tell you it’s something! It’s something where God will use me to share my story (His story) of pain, loneliness, rebellion, failure and grief, but most importantly restoration, forgiveness and hope. 

But here’s the deal. I have this deep fear that other people won’t think God is really calling me to this. Does that make sense? I suppose it’s just a fear of rejection and fear of not being understood. To be honest with you, it’s not really a fear. To me it’s an annoyance. Because when people doubt that God is calling a person to something, they are not really doubting that person, they are doubting God.

(And yes I understand the whole thing about needing to seek wise counsel and all that.)

So this morning I was debating this whole thing with God. What is it God that you are calling me to? Why do I feel it’s really going to stretch me? Why do I feel that other people are going to think I’m crazy? Am I crazy?

And the Lord spoke, in a still small voice, “Trust me.”

“Ok God, I will. BUT…”

“Trust me.”

I stopped arguing with God and I thought about Moses. And I almost laughed out loud because I so get Moses. God appeared to him in the burning bush and called him to this new thing…

“So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” (Exodus 3:10)

And Moses said, “Woo hoo! You bet God, I’m packing my bags!”

Ooops, wrong translation.

What Moses really said was, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11)

I hear ya Moses, I hear ya.

Of course we know the rest of the story, right?  Moses kept questioning and questioning and gave every excuse under the sun as to why he wasn’t really called to this.

But as I thought about Moses this morning I began to wonder if his fear of going to rescue the Israelites wasn’t so much about doubting God or even himself. Perhaps his greater fear was whether or not there would there be anyone to encourage him or walk with him or believe with him that despite his failings and past (murder!), that God could indeed do this mighty work through his willing and open hands.

So I ask you today friends…

Is God calling you to something? Trust Him. Trust in His strength to see you through.

Is God calling someone you love to something but you’re just not sure, and think they might be off their rocker a little bit? Trust Him. Pray with your friend. Encourage them to listen to God and follow Him no matter the cost.

Thank you Lord for your calling in our life. Whether it’s to walk next door and be an example of Jesus’ love to our neighbor, or pack our bags and fly across the ocean to a country who despises Your name. Help us to trust you Lord and believe in the power of Your love and of the mighty work of Your hand.