Monthly Archives: July 2011

Keeping Vigil

I am awake much too late, and not haphazardly. After a long weekend of late night wedding celebrations and a long play-filled visit with dear friends from childhood, I was more than ready for an early night’s rest. But alas, my husband is on a journey north, a long journey, after a long weekend for him too, and I am prone to keep vigil until he arrives safely at his destination. I will not sleep soundly until he does. God bless me when I have teenagers!

My husband Scott gave an inspiring homily at the wedding of JIm and Mary Anne Frank about the work of a relationship. Citing wisdom from the New Testament and referencing the tides he bases life around when fishing, he gave a charge to all in relationships to serve one another wholeheartedly and be ready for the changes, and there will be goodness. He danced into the night with a grateful wife and 3 giddy children. It is a rare treat to get to be at a wedding together as the salmon season in Canada usually takes precedence to everything summer. But now he is a pastor, and his work divides his time, forcing a bit of normal summer life upon him when he is home overseeing ministry rather than the 18 hour days a seasonal resort requires of him. But, he must to return north.

His long journey began at 4:00 a.m this morning in Spokane so that he would be able to take guests fishing at 4:00 a.m. the following morning in northern British Columbia. He caught a flight to Seattle in time to pastor and preach at our satellite campus church, Bethany North. After the final chair had been stacked and the last storage trailer had been parked, he headed north toward the Canadian border for the beginning of a 10 hour trip. Meeting an overbooked ferry early in the day added a 2 1/2 hour wait to his journey and negated his chances of catching the last possible ferry to Malcolm Island, his final destination. McGyver-style, he figured it all out and had a boat delivered to the main Island, so he could arrive at his final destination in time.

As I nestle my children to bed, gather up my own good book to read and snuggle myself in at a very reasonable hour, I find I am wide awake waiting and can’t focus on my reading. His cell phone coverage is spotty in the more desolate parts as he drives the length of Vancouver Island so when he last could call I asked him to text when he arrived at the boat and then again when he had made it across. I have seen what can be in the water during the day. I know every last person at his destination will be sound asleep. The night crossing has me anxious, as does his late night drive after long full, albeit fun, days. I will keep vigil for him.

11:26 p.m. the first text comes in: “Port McNeill. Beautiful night for a boat ride”

I have been waiting and praying, for his safe arrival. He must be exhausted. I wish I could give him the gift of sleep he so often offers me when he’s up at fisherman’s hours in the off-season months to care for our early risers. I would drive the car or the boat late into the night while he slept, if only I could be journeying with him. But I am now hundreds of miles away and my only point of common reference is the dark starry sky out my window. I pray it will be bright for him.

My favorite lullaby to my children is my favorite for the words,

“Sleep my child
and peace attend thee,
all through the night.
Guardian angels God will send thee
all through the night.
Soft the drowsy hours are creeping,
Hill and vale in slumber steeping,
I my loving vigil keeping,
all through the night.”

That is what I do, keep vigil at night. I hear every sound, every cry, every pitter pat of tiny feet, every questionable bump in the night inside or outside. I am alert, even when I am sound asleep, I will awake and take on the night. I will do everything I can to nurture and protect my family, every hour of the day. I would have done well as a Shepherd and honored to be in the Garden of Gethsemane.

But the reality, is I can only do so much. Really, I can’t do much at all when I consider what truly might take my child’s breath or put us in danger. The real comfort of this lullaby comes not in resonating with my loving vigil, but the prayer of the beginning: Peace attend thee, my child, God will send Guardian Angels (Thanks be to God). I only keep watch, it is He who will protect thee. (Please and Amen).

I swoop into my children’s rooms each night just before I go to bed to hold my vigil one last time before I seek my own sleep. When my husband is away, I am all the more vigilant. Tonight though, it is his journey away from us that keeps me waiting and watching for his safe arrival. I realize how powerless I am from afar to protect him, just how powerless I will be as my children grow older, gain more freedoms and eventually depart from my home. But still I will keep my vigil, still I will pray. My only strength is His, that He provides guardian angels, that He keeps watch.

12:02 “Home. Bed. Goodnight.”

12:03 “Oh good, I love you!”

“Sleep my child and peace attend thee,” He whispers to me.


Great With Child a book review

Resolution is in sight! As I transfer all my files from one computer to another and onto an external hard drive for safekeeping until I get my pc wiped and re programmed (today is my appointment!) I am coming across things I have written in the past and thought this was a fun piece to share. Great With Child is easily my favorite book of all time. And, THIS was actually my first publication, it was for our MOPS newsletter a few years back. I hope you enjoy…

I have a bit of an obsession with books, not that I find much time to read them these days, but even so, I yearn to consume the written word with an insatiable hunger for information and inspiration. Books on parenting, devotionals, a good novel or two, professional resources and plenty of abc’s and 123’s are strewn across my headboard, jammed into shelves in every room, packed into my office and sometimes placed strategically near the toilet (where it seems I get my most consistent reading in these days). Of all these books that serve one purpose or another in my life, there is one I go to like a latte after another night of broken sleep and savor like good chocolate after a season of lent. Great with Child: Reflections on Faith, Fullness and Becoming a Mother is a favorite manuscript in my library. My mind and soul yearn for the words on these pages as a most genuine reflection of the range of emotion I feel at this great juncture.
Debra Rienstra, an English professor from Calvin College, writes with eloquence, humor, candor and faith about all topics feminine. We get to ride the river of life with her from the deep yearning for motherhood, to the grumpy perfectionism that rises in us as we seek to “nest” just-so; laughter over various bodily fluids excreted by mother and child soon after birth, to reverence over our ability to join the Creator in creation, shedding blood to have children as Jesus shed His blood for us. Rienstra shares the story, that feels like pieces of every woman’s story, of her own struggle toward conception, the sacred walk of pregnancy, questions of identity in work and relationships, and the ultimate bliss, chaos and meaning that comes with a child.
Drawing on a myriad of writings both secular and sacred, she is single-handedly the best book-club resource for mothers who would like to stay connected to something intellectual without sacrificing these fleeting days of splashy bath times, wide-eyed-wonder and high pitched “I wove yous.” And the best part is the book can, and should be read a little at a time. One paragraph, one sentence even, begs to be tasted and savored. Akin to a dear friend speaking words of truth so piercing that tears well-up at being thus well known, Great with Child illuminates the sacredness of womanhood mixed with motherhood as a beautiful tapestry, breathtaking overall and precious in detail.
Daunting to find one quote that might exemplify the book, Rienstra’s own response to how she did it sums well. One asks “You wrote this book during your third pregnancy and then during the baby’s first year? Are you crazy? I haven’t been able to write up a decent grocery list since my first baby was born!” Amen sister. Riesntra’s responds “I am not exactly sure…I had to do it…Giving life to a child seemed to irradiate my thoughts about everything else – the body, womanhood, culture, God-everything. I wanted to read something that treated motherhood in the fullness of its dimensions, social, and personal, body, mind, and soul.” And to her newborn son, and thus vicariously to us all “For you is the mystery waiting, for you it was hidden for ages in God who created all things. Be rooted and grounded in love. Comprehend the breadth and length and height and depth. Know those things that surpass all knowledge. Be filled to the measure, my little one, with the fullness of God.” And again, I say, amen.


I’m Published!

Someday I will get into a good rhythm with this blog (having my pc fixed will help!). In the meantime, I wanted to share the good news that I have published my first official article! I am pretty excited. It was quite a thrill to pour myself into something heartfelt and then see it arrive in my mailbox in print.

I just discovered I can point you to the online version, so until I have my pc all to myself again to do some more blogging (I keep stealing my hard working husband’s whenever I can) here is the link to some other writing I have been doing. Once you get there click on the Spring 2011 Newsletter and scroll to page 11. My article was given the title “From Happiness to Grief and Back Again” (my original title was “A Case for the Range” which was obviously a bit out there to make sense to the masses – I’ll take the edited title:). Or you can go to http://www.wamft.org and click on the newsletter tab to get there.

If you take the time to find and read it I would love to hear your thoughts. It would not only mean something to me personally but professionally it will inform my work as a therapist too. If you have a story to share of when you have felt affirmed, and therefore cared for, when you were not at your best and it made you better, I would love to post those too.

I definitely feel encouraged to get some more inspired thoughts out there as soon as I can!

Hope you feel encouraged in whatever emotional state you are in today (you’ll see what I mean:).


Pause Explained: Computer Problems (Argh!)

I have been on hiatus here every since I downloaded my Italy pictures to my laptop. I overloaded my hard drive (one theory – I am praying it is true and not something worse) and cannot get my pc to turn on. It was a dumb move. My laptop was running a little slow before I left so I took it in to the amazingly helpful mac store (seriously, amazingly helpful, kind, patient, speak in human) and the genius bar rep told me I just had way to many things on it, showed me how to get a good view of everything I had, brainstormed other ways of storing things with me and taught me how to run some regular diagnostics in the future. I felt affirmed, empowered and equipped to take care of my issues and move forward. What more could a therapist cask for from an IT session?

So, unthinking me, high on Italy, just added a ton of new documents for writing ideas, can’t wait to get blogging and show off some of the amazing Italian vistas and new faces in my life, forgets all this and downloads a boatload of new pictures. Crash!

Well, good ol’ genius bar guy at the Mac store gets me all set up again, again treats me like a semi-intelligent human being, even after I come in tail between my legs admitting I should have known better not to do this and actually teaches me how to rescue my own hard drive so that I don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to someone who will look at me like I just fed my children cyanide. (whew that was a long sentence!)

So, that’s what I have been up to…transferring the entire contents of my hard drive (thousands of pictures, everything I have ever written of any significance (or insignificance), importance, work, creative or practical-life related. Let’s just say I said quite a heartfelt “Amen, thank you Lord!” when he showed me how it all could be retrieved.

That, and all the other tasks, duties, lovelies and grinds of life that I can’t wait to write about. So stay tuned…

* I am so excited to share more stories (and PICTURES) from Italy!
* I am in a season of transition and looking forward to sharing some thoughts, insights and questions around that.
* Always, there are pondering about parenting, faith, life as a mom, woman, child of God to share too – all locked away in that gold mine of a hard drive I am so diligently recovering. (The process is great by the way, such a good chance to de-clutter and take stock, much like moving, which I just did, so really this has kind of been a good life over haul for me.)

Be back soon!