All posts filed under: Family

Dogs Are Family, Too: Write for 31 Days

There are events in life that just catch one unawares. And when they happen, we sometimes learn things about ourselves we didn’t expect. We’re still reeling from one of those events. They were just a couple of dogs. Family pets. They could be annoying and endearing and entertaining all at the same time. Lily was an older, low-to-the-ground beagle mix and Charlie was a spry, innocent shepherd mix who was still just a pup. They were great pals and partners in crime. Yesterday, their hunting expedition took them off the farm and into a nearby highway. In the blink of an eye, they were swept from our lives, struck and killed by a vehicle on a curve. A day later, we’re still not sure what hit us. Calls and texts to our four sons who live hours away were required, and each time it was a tough conversation. These two crazy dogs were part of our family. And today, there’s a gaping hole in our household. We feel incomplete. The dogs were my husband’s constant …

‘Duck Daughter’ Is More than a Pretty Face: Write for 31 Days

My Day 27 post is a bit of a departure from my usual theme, but this young lady has been on my mind all day. So, I’m taking that as a “rhema” word from God telling me to pray for her. Today’s “God-Spot” in Write for 31 Days is Sadie Robertson.   I thought twice before I dropped the magazine into my shopping cart. The 5 bucks it cost me canceled out any money I’d saved by shopping at the chain store, and besides that, I don’t normally waste my precious reading time on US Magazine. But when I saw the headline “Duck Daughter Tells All”, I had to buy it. Wedged in between an article about cheating teen moms and a photo of Kim Kardashian’s “bootie” was a sweet, relatively unbiased interview with Duck Dynasty daughter Sadie Robertson. (For those of you who haven’t a clue, Willie is her Dad, Phil’s her “Papaw” and Miss Kate is her grandmother, and they make duck calls in Louisiana. Love ’em!) As if this cute 17-year-old isn’t …

When Family Trumps Blogging: Writing for 31 Days

The “God-Spot” for Day 15 just didn’t happen. Not that I didn’t see God in my day. He was all over it –at my coffee date with a dear friend, in the conversations with fellow ministry workers, in my Beth Moore Bible study. But the blog post I had started for Day 15 wasn’t at the top of my list by the end of the day. Family needs were. So, I shut down all electronic devices but my phone. I needed to focus on relationship without distraction. It turns out, the blog post I had planned and begun to write showed up in my real world. Now that’s a “God-Spot”. Praying Circles Around My Children There were those nights I slipped into my son’s room, knelt by his bed and prayed, my urgent whispers begging God to take up residence in his heart, in his mind. To turn him back to us. And there have been mornings I rose early, turned on just the one light by my chair and pulled my Bible into my …

On Being an Original, “Fearfully and Wonderfully Made”: Writing for 31 Days

Today’s “God-Spot” was captured just down the road from our home in rural Indiana. I hope that as I share this reflection, you will be inspired to look for the “originals” in your life. One of the great blessings of certain friendships is that they enrich your life simply by the sharing of life. Such is the case with our dear neighbors, with whom we have had the privilege of sharing our valley and the rearing of our children these past 23 years. The Mrs. and I share our love for handicrafts, cooking and Scripture — and so much more. She spins wool, weaves and knits and designs and creates original quilts. I greatly appreciate her creative gifts, and she supports me in mine. When we get the chance, the Mr. and I quickly slip into sharing what we’ve read or seen that’s of interest in the world. The Mr. is a kind and gentle man, a devoted father and grandfather and a bit of an icon in our rural community. He maintains the county’s …

When the Innocent Suffer; Stop the Heartache

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The issue of violence in the home deserves more than 31 days of concentrated attention. It’s a sad fact that domestic violence affects one in four women in the United States every day. The recent headlines citing sports figures accused of abusive behavior have turned the spotlight on domestic violence. As a volunteer at a local agency which provides services for victims of abuse, and works to create awareness in our community, I care very much about what happens to those who are impacted by domestic violence. A year ago, I wrote a series of blog posts about domestic violence. I am sharing with you the one that is closest to my mother-heart — how violence impacts children. “Are you mean?” It’s not a question I’m asked often, so when the little girl with the cynical blue eyes asked, I knew I’d better give a straight answer. “I don’t think so.” “Are you nice? Are you nice to your kids? Do you ever smack their bottoms?” I told her …

When the Nest Is Empty, What Will Come To Fill It?

Writing today on the subject “FILL” along with other bloggers posting at Five Minute Friday. Join me here to see what others are saying in their five minutes of writing. I dipped my hand into the clothespin bag, searching for a couple of pins to secure the freshly washed sheets. Instead I pulled out twigs and feathers. A nest. A mother bird had chosen this safe spot to create a home. I laid the bag on the ground to shake out the twigs and heard chirping from within. Two babies still snuggled deep in the bag. As they dropped out on the ground, two of our barn cats who had been lurking nearby snatched them up. I wanted to cry. The innocent babies must have wondered what happened — safe and warm one minute, terrified at the end of their short lives the next. In this week after moving my youngest out of the nest into his new home eight hours away, I feel a little like that mother bird must feel as she flies …

An Open Letter to Young Women Who Might Want to Marry My Sons

My oldest son turned 30 today. Yeah, I’m that old (and then some). Reflecting back on this amazing young man’s life, and looking forward to what the future holds for him and his lovely bride of 9 years, I got to thinking about the other three — the younger brothers who are as yet unmarried. Since they were born, I’ve prayed for the women God would bring to share their lives. Our oldest son is happily married to his best friend, and I’ll continue to pray that these three will have the same good fortune. I’m aware that statistically, the odds are two of the four will have marriages ending in divorce. Rather than dwell on that possibility, I’ve come up with some “premarital advice” for my prospective daughters-in-law. Here is my open letter to the young women who might want to marry one of my sons: Dear One ~ As the first woman in the life of the young man you hope to marry, I would like to share a few thoughts with you. …

I Am a Grower of Tomatoes

What was I thinking? Nine tomato plants — count ’em, NINE — for two adult people. How did they wind up in the trunk of my car? Yes, there is that 19-year-old who’s home for the summer, but he stays away from tomatoes unless they’re in a ketchup bottle or smothered in mozzarella. So what was I thinking when I brought home those nine healthy green seedlings, all snug in their plastic nests? A morning spent at my friend’s country nursery had yielded a collection of herbs, pepper plants, kale, lettuce — and those nine tomato plants. How could I resist the promise of beautiful heirloom tomatoes with names like Lemon Drop, Granny Carter, Blue Berry, Pineapple, Black Icicle and Amish Paste. Tomatoes with history and geography, planted from seed by my friend’s hand and nurtured in her Amish-made greenhouse. There was just something sacred about them, and I couldn’t get enough. The afternoon was given over to settling their roots in my freshly-tilled garden, mounding moist, rich soil around them, careful to give them enough …

Forgiveness: Why I’ve Been Confused By Mother’s Day

Last week, I shared my journey to forgiveness with readers at Brenda Yoder’s blog Life Beyond the Picket Fence. Today, I’ve offered up this reflection at Lyli Dunbar’s blog Thought-Provoking Thursdays. Perhaps you, too, struggle with unforgiveness. As I examined my inability to forgive my mother for leaving her young family, I gained invaluable insight and healing from a new book by Leslie Leyland Fields, “Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers”. My birth mother would have turned 80 this week. Growing up, it was ironic to me that her birthday always fell on or near Mother’s Day. I wasn’t adopted, so referring to the woman who gave birth to me when she was 18 as simply “my birth mother” may seem odd. But to the end of her life, nearly 3 ½ years ago, it seldom felt right to call her “Mom”. Most of my life, she was just Anita. When I was three years old and my little sisters were two and one, Anita walked out our front door, across the yard and down the …

Confused by Mother’s Day: The Bumpy Road to Forgiveness

My birth mother would have turned 80 next week. Before she died 3 1/2 years ago, I was finally able to forgive her for letting go of her three young daughters so that she could go in search of herself. I’ve shared my story of forgiveness today at Brenda Yoder’s blog, Life Beyond the Picket Fence. Join me as I explore why I’m still confused by Mother’s Day, and enter a drawing for the book “Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers” by Leslie Leyland Fields.