Overpriced Souvenir

enchanted forest

Even though we wore the blue raincoat we still walked off the ride soaking wet. Anna and I were both wimps when it came to walking around an amazement park drenched, Abigail said we were taking all the fun out of it.

As we walked up to the booth our shining moment came up on the screen, I knew immediately we would not be purchasing the $7 photo that was overpriced and definitely did not catch me at one of my finer moments.

Abigail, my pre-teen, opened up her wallet, pulled out her allowance, looked at me and smiled.  I let her purchase the photo knowing that there was a lesson to be learned about how she spent her money.

We spent the rest of the day playing at the Enchanted Forest, a gem of an amusement park just south of Portland. I still can’t believe it took me almost 7 years to experience everything this wooded, neatly kept, magical and entertaining wonderland had to offer. I promised the girls we would come back yearly until the log ride got old. I knew that day was far, far away.

When we got home she spent some time rearranging the photos on the fridge, putting her overpriced souvenir right in the middle so everyone would see. She was proud of her purchase and I realized quickly that there was no lesson to be learned that day. She didn’t want it for herself, she wanted to embarrass me and show everyone who came to our house how goofy her mom looked while on the log ride. To her that was worth whatever she had to pay.

I guess you can say the lessons that needed to be learned were mine; don’t go on a log ride if you don’t want to get wet and don’t underestimate how far a pre-teen will go to embarrass her mom.

Wish I could pay her back and show her that I can ride the log ride with out the silly rain coat. I may even pose this time for the photo.

 

Reckless Love

Love painting

In the past I let circumstances, my to-do list or just the inability to let go of my stuff inhibit me from really putting myself out there for God.

I remember being guarded with my heart, fearful of it being hurt and not wanting to feel that pain. I remember feeling the nudges, those ideas that slowly emerge into your consciousness, and I would make excuses of why I needed to stay on course with my life, a life that was committed to God but was not willing to fully surrender.

I was a believer but not necessary willing to follow. I was good person, good mom, good wife but had my own agenda on how I thought my life should be lived. I remember the nudges, they weren’t an extreme change of course, but they were there.

I will be honest and say that as I sit and write this I’m ashamed that I did not listen as intently as I do now. I’m ashamed that I had to be completely broken in order to follow with ALL of my heart. I know God forgives me and he loves me for where I was but I’m ashamed.

In my quiet times I bring this to his feet. I lay my head on his lap and through my tears I tell him that I’m sorry. Our God is so faithful, so forgiving and so loving.  He holds me tight and whispers that he loves me.

I hear him loud and clear.

I was asked this week if I wake up making a conscious decision to embrace God, and choose love and joy, instead of being bitter and angry at the circumstances of my life.

God met me on the side of the road on October 20th when I asked him to come. He held my hand, whispered in my ear and wrapped his loving arms around me tight. He shows up every second of every day and assures me that my girls are good in his presence and that they are taken care of in a way that I would never be able to provide for them.  I’m committed to listen to him, to follow and to recklessly love like he loves me.

I wake up every morning and choose the promise of his word and one day, in his presence, I will be able to thank him for filling my broken heart with love and hope.

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Romans 5:1-5

Perfect Fabric Hearts

aa love rocks

I remember writing in this space about my idea of spreading love and joy through little rocks with fabric hearts on them and wondering if it would go anywhere. I knew that my close friends and maybe my community would possibly get into spreading love and joy in honor of my girls but I truly did not expect what has happened.

These rocks, like the people who make and find them, have stories to tell.

These stories are about the family who sat around the table making them, laughing about how dad can’t cut out perfect fabric hearts and feeling grateful that this activity has brought them together as a family.

These stories are about remembering a loved one that has gone to heaven, finding their favorite character on fabric and allowing the life that is so missed to be remembered with every stroke of the paint brush that secures the fabric heart.

These stories are about a community that is so love-drenched that Love Rocks can be found just about anywhere.

These stories are about the families who are celebrating the union between their daughter and son and making sure that everyone who has come to celebrate goes home with a token of their love.

These stories are about a young child who loves making the perfect Love Rocks to secretly give to his neighbors and friends.

These stories are about a mom who travels to the coast to honor her son in Heaven and while there finds a Love Rock placed in a spot that makes her look to the heavens and say thank you.

These stories are about a man who has lived a long life and when given a Love Rock holds it tightly as he takes his last breath here on earth.

There are so many stories to tell and I feel so grateful that people have shared them with me.

At 8:30 tonight it will be 3 months since we launched Love Rocks on Facebook. I can’t believe it’s only been 3 months.

Tonight at 8:30 it will also be 9 months since my girls went to Heaven. Sometimes it seems like just yesterday we were eating waffles for breakfast and trying to get out the door to get to church on time. Other days I feel like it’s been so long since I’ve touched them, kissed them and held them tight.

I know that Love Rocks is here for reason and that reason is far greater than I could have ever imagined or understand.

Thank you so much for going on this journey with us, for celebrating the life of my girls, celebrating love, joy and the undeniable goodness of spreading happiness to those around you.

I’m sure, as always, Anna and Abigail are smiling in Heaven watching all the love being shared. I am sure they are so proud to be part of something so big, so beautiful and so important.

first love rocks

These Love Rocks, the first ones in our family made by Anna, Abigail and my mother-in-law Sarah, are my all time favorites. They remind me of a time when life was crazy, busy and wonderful. They were shared with my closest friends and family at our wedding and many have beautiful words written on them from our guests. These Love Rocks are the inspiration for choosing to honor my girls and my community in this manner and they hold a very special place in our hearts and in our home.

 

Happiness Journal

Anna and Saige, a doll she bought with her own money last August.

Anna and Saige, a doll she bought with her own money last August.

I always knew that the time would come when Anna would want one. She loved her baby dolls and I knew that an American Girl Doll was definitely in her future.

For her 6th birthday my parents met us in Seattle and we went, for the first time, to the most amazing place in the eyes of a doll crazed 6-year-old, The American Girl Doll Store. We both walked around with big eyes, looking at all the beautiful dolls and their fun accessories. I knew the minute we walked in that we would have a couple of bags in our hands, and a new friend for Anna, on the way out. I knew because I couldn’t wait to play with Anna’s new doll too.

It was a magical day for all of us and I know that my mom and dad felt honored to be able to buy Anna her new friend McKenna. We actually walked out of the store with two dolls. Abigail was turning 10 years old soon and I knew that even though she may only have a few doll years left in her she needed to feel the magic too.

anna and abs dolls

Last night, Anna’s best friend stopped by with her parents to drop us off a yummy treat. While they were here I had a thought pop into my head and I ran upstairs, got McKenna, her toothbrush, some night cloths for her and some matching night cloths that Anna used to wear. I ran back down and asked Anna’s friend if she would be willing to have a sleep over with Anna’s doll. I told her she doesn’t get out much these days and that she would probably appreciate a visit at her house.

Her eyes got big and she said of course and hugged Miss McKenna as though they were long-lost friends being reunited.

When I sit in Anna’s room I often think about her dolls and how they must miss their mama. Anna took such great care of her babies and as much as I try I don’t play with them nearly as much as she did. I’m sure they are very lonely.

Today I am happy that McKenna got to have a sleepover at Anna’s best friends house. I am picking her up in a few hours and I’m sure there will be lots of stories to tell.

m sleepover