Invitations

November 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

The past few days have been couched by heavy skies and strong gusts. The verge of something terrible is suggested, but never comes about. Cradled at Kris’s backdoor, the cold winds only entertain us. We eat, drink, play and rest in our safe, little pod. Firmly seated in the thrust of the wind we journey on.

We plan our departures between the gusts. Darting between them keeps us reasonably dry as J strains towards puddles. When is a good time to have a child soaked to the bone? There are few occasions on a 50° day. I think I need to pack several changes of clothes and plan a Puddle Jumping Excursion to give my sweet one a chance to soak himself.

We spent the day at the church cooking for Thanksgiving. Not only was is great to have access to their facilities, it was great to be a part of the liveliness of their day. When I asked Mother Kathleen to use the kitchen, I hadn’t counted on getting to hear bell choir rehearsal. I hadn’t counted on Angie’s company, either.

The babe was transfixed by the sound of the bells. He took a seat and watched them, unmoving, for at least 20 minutes. If his hair ruffled, it was the wisp of a wind sent rolling from the curl of a tuned brass bell.

As I sat out the ingredients, I swore out loud. “Crumbs!” I cried out. A woman walked by as I exclaimed, freezing in her footsteps. “What’s wrong?” she asked me.

I had forgotten eggs. I needed six and I had none. Without provocation or hesitation she hopefully stated, “I can go to the store for you!” I stood humble in her offer. It was all over her face. She wanted to help, I needed the help and God had opened the door for communion and fellowship. I accepted her loving invitation, and was blessed both by eggs and her company. Small steps toward community grow on.

After a long day in the kitchen, I was ready to go home. We had a movie to watch and I had a bed to lay on. As I rounded the corner I found Kris, in front of her computer, wrapped up in her blanket.

She flashed her face to me from its folds in inquisitive surprise. As her eyes caught me, I felt a slight lift. Without her, we wouldn’t be here. The hands that held her blanket had curled themselves around us, drawing us over 3000 miles. Because of her, this had magically become our home.

Hurried, we greeted her as we ran to our tiny house to settle down. I had buttered a piece of cornbread for her. I stuffed it into her hand before retreating to our little home. “You are so good to me,” she said. From the folds of her blanket came the soft glow of love.

A little over a month ago, we met our friend, Arica. She had been here about a month when we first arrived. Partnered with a friend, they followed a job to Longview. The job didn’t pan out; but they decided to set down roots here.

From our first words, Arica and I were connected on the grounds of justice, peace and growth. She works at one of our favorite thrift store, so we have occasion to run into her. A week ago, she invited us to share our first Thanksgiving here with her and her family. “Thanksgiving is a time when you have people over. We don’t have anyone to have over. Come over!”

I took in the warmth of her invitation. They are new in town, just like us. They are flying on faith, just like us. With six little ones in their household, ages 6 to 3 months, this is going to be an experience. I absolutely cannot wait.

When I asked what we could bring, Arica suggested a pan of dressing. “I make a cornbread dressing,” she said. I snatched her arm in sisterly passion. My mother is from the South. If it’s not cornbread, it’s not dressing. We’ll each share our own style, as well as our own style of sweet potatoes. I think this is going to be delicious.

I feel like I’m playing the Trust Game: close your eyes and fall backwards into a friend’s arms. The tree raised a call; the shout itself came from God. We followed it west, to this new place. A reason is waiting for us here. “Close your eyes; and fall,” it’s telling me.

Arica is doing the same thing. She told me from the start that faith was her only option. I believed her as I watched her at her work. She is a woman with love, hope and willingness leading her forward. It was with those full arms that she reached out to me.

I’m standing back. From my vantage point of surrender, I see a net in the making. Woven beneath us, ground forms piece by piece, hand in hand in hand in hand until we wonder where all the hands are coming from. They hold our arms, our legs, our necks, our heads–until they are carrying us.

Through them, God carries us. The hunger for right, for compassion, for the ways of God, draw us on. In the narrow neck of the bottle sisters and brothers are found.

 

Fallen Asleep

November 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

When Erik died, I fell apart in a whole new way. No children to tend to, no little faces to kiss, no reason to be awake at all hours of the night, the death of an only child is absolute. The absolute emptiness, the ugly echo that comes back from a world gone hollow makes it almost impossible to live.

Pain took me over in waves. I’d lay nearly numb and dead, and then suddenly a spasm would draw my body into a knot. Twisting and moaning, my cries were almost gastral in their depth. Throats don’t produce those sounds.

Sometimes, I’d be moving down the hallway and then find myself on the ground. Twisting and groaning, I flailed, buckled and screamed. I didn’t care. “Take me away if you want to,” I felt. “Put me somewhere. I can’t live or function out here like this.”

My child appeared everywhere. Just like with Arthur, I saw him in places he was not. I felt convinced that the right kind of asking would cause him to mysteriously appear in one of his old places–if my request was fulfilled in a certain window of time. Magical thinking. Do you think I am alone? Ask any grieving parent. We enter the realm of the magical when the real ceases to be acceptable.

I would lay on my back in bed most of the day. Sometimes I would just scream out, “NO! NO! NOOOOOOOOOOO! I don’t WANT this identity!!”  I used to liken it to being burned horribly in a fire. No matter what, when you enter a room, the view others have of you will have changed, forever. You are “Her” or “The One”. Now, I am the woman with two dead sons. I am. Or I forget them. Great choice.

Not long ago, a friend told me my blog (I hate that word) had taken a turn for the dark. Revealing how the tape the hospital used tore Arthur’s skin is very upsetting. In the past, another friend commented that sharing his death picture was too gruesome. At the very least, I should photoshop over the missing skin.

In this moment right here, I reach my hand out to every person who grieves like this. I reach out to everyone who appreciates that grief. The things I share are the things that I have. To share otherwise is to embellish. Here, I tell you the untellable truth.

My grieving friends are screaming in support, right now. We hide these feelings while we uncomfortably dodge other people’s fear of our pain. We hear things like, “Well, at least you have this one,” as new babies are expected to take away our grief.  When Arthur died people said, “At least you had two.”  Sorrowfully, that turned out to be true; nonetheless, I don’t think they understood the depth of those words when they spoke them.

Today, in church, our priest asked why it was hard to look at the tough stuff. A door opened beneath me, and I fell in. I pointed my tattooed face down at the glisten of my bright blue, velveteen pants and gripped the floor. Pay attention to pain and don’t flee, she advised.

I froze like prey. Were the people around me so comfortable with pain? Was the horror that met my eyes so foreign to those around? My own grief is only a part of what touches me. The terror of this world is all around. The pitchforks of polite society raised behind me as I ran.

“Grief changes to the reveal the face of love,” I heard. Before we had even talked about pain, we were running from it. We said the word pain, and then sprinted to the safe-line before we could feel a thing. I can still feel the heat of their tiny bodies leaving as I held them in my arms. My fellow parishioners were being led on a sprint. I couldn’t catch up.

I sat through the reassurance like a stone, studying, taking notes. Where did I fall away? Facing pain was likened to birth, the worst of which was identified as transition. My hands remembered the warmth of my children’s bodies, and then it slowly leaking away. Another transition. As I listened, I wondered how the transition from pain to its beauty was being made so fast.

Recently, another grieving mother I know was accused of being obsessed with death. She mentioned her son, Isaac, too much. Had I the time, I would have asked to share his picture in this post. He looks so much like my friend, Jamie. When she and I talk about these things together it is hand-in-glove. All else transcends as we cling together in grief and Christ. Awkward moments like these are impossible.

All grieving mothers share the same experiences. When people dare to mention our children we often weep. “I’m so sorry I made you cry,” they tell us. Don’t they know that we cry whether they can see it or not? We never stop crying. When you mentioned our children, we gain the chance to cry communally. Communal crying is the most healing of cries: don’t help us avoid it. Have the courage to invite it. As our priest said today, “If we stay with it, we have the chance to go deeper.”

But if you’re comfortable, who wants to go deeper? Who wants to experience this grief with me? Will you grab at it, like a kid on a dare, and then dodge before you get the full hit? Really, forget about my grief. I’m far from the only one; and my case is far from the worst. When it comes to those in pain, how does Christ call us to care for one another? How much should we let ourselves share?

We put a fence around pain. In this world, it is more common than joy; but we steel ourselves before we approach it. When my grief is on the table, I watch eyes dance at the edges of my dark Medusa. If you look too closely, you might make it your own.

Yesterday, a friend told me she hurt her back. “It just hurts and I can’t get comfortable,” she told me. From my grief place within I said, “Exactly.”

1 Thessalonians 4:13-16

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.

 

 

 

 

 

Who Rescued Who?

November 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

The excitement began before today even arrived. Today is Kris’s birthday. The boy and I planned a surprise. I found instructions for baking a cake in a crock pot; so we gathered ingredients for this great one-bowl cake and made it here in the tiny house.

One-Bowl Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cup white sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
Directions:
1. Spray crock of a large slow cooker with cooking spray.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla until well combined. Whisk in the boiling water. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix well.
3. Pour the cake batter into the prepared slow cooker.
4. Set slow cooker to “Low”. Cook until cake has no wet spots on top and has pulled away from the sides of the crock, about 3 hours. Turn off slow cooker and allow cake to rest for 30 minutes before serving.

In the dark of the morning, we reviewed the plan. Who was going to do what? Duty lists were established as we had early morning libations. Under a tent made out of blankets, cold coffee gave rise to the course of the day. The name of the game: Cake Surprise.

We tried to be quiet this morning. Kris had been up all night worrying about Pippa. Pippa, one of our cat family, has been seriously ill. She has a genetic disorder that causes blisters in her digestive tract, sometimes making it impossible for her to eat. Plans for treatment exhausted, they decided to do an endoscopy to diagnose the problem. The results, today, would decide the course of her life.

It would be a grief to witness this in anyone; but in Pippa, it is a deeper heartache. When she lays a paw on you, it settles all the way in. Her eyes catch yours and an understanding is passed.

Pippa is one of the smallest cats. slight, with a small, heart-shaped face; but she is the boldest among them all. Her trills and sharp purr-greetings are like none I’ve heard. With her tiny body, she shoves aside four large dogs to ask for my affection. Can I refuse it?

When I consider life without Pippa, my eyes filled with tears. To think of losing her purrs and trills–of course Kris was up all night. Today was the procedure that would decide if Pippa had a chance.

“We have to be very quiet!” I told my boy. “Kris and Pippa have a very important appointment with the doctor today!”

His little cowboy boots clacked down the sidewalk ahead of my words. “O.K.!” sailed back over his shoulder, his sounds twirling through the gold-streaked hair that streamed behind him.

My shoes were half on when I heard Kris’s voice. Across my plane, four swift cats shot train-style through the cat door. Kris’s bewildered face hovered as I caught up, my own agenda shimmering under the cat-terror we’d just caused.

Undaunted, I burst into song. “Happy Birthday to YOU! Happy Birthday to YOU!” as Kris threw up weak hands in nearly sincere defense. Embarrassed and uncomfortable, there was still the warm under glow of love.

Back in high-school, Kris had that characteristic angry swagger that cut a path wherever she went. Her eyes took bites to the right and to the left as she burned a path out of our alien world. She and I left it only to step into the great abyss. As she cautiously dodged our exuberant love, cool smoke drifted above old, quiet fires. Worlds continued to merge.

While Kris was taking Pippa to the vet, we retrieved our ingredients from the fridge. We got a mixing bowl, and ducked back into the tiny house. The kid could hardly contain his excitement. Duty lists? Give me that spoon! Now! Please! The desire to experience things directly was irrepressible. He was an octopus with only one arm on the goal.  It looked a lot like misbehavior; but from another angle, it is enthusiasm unbound.

Batter in the pot, we went for the bowl. As we mixed, I promised he could lick the bowl. Having never done it, he thought I meant he should put his whole head in it. As I scraped batter into the pot he cried out to me, “Please, let me lick it now! Let me put my head in the bowl!” It was only cake; but he was nearly weeping.

People always comment about how intense my emotions are. To some people, I probably seem “dramatic”. Kris is very similar to me in that way. Consider, for a moment, that we are not being dramatic? What would that look like, feel like?

I consider that when I view my boy. What must these new things feel like, at three and three-quarters? Hey, sometimes I could scream for a new sensation. Why not my son?

Finally, I was able to put the bowl on his lap. I explained that licking the bowl meant cleaning it out with fingers and spoons, not actual tongues. Needing no further instruction, he got to his work. Finally free, he smeared two hands in to the elbow. “Look at this!” he cried, shoving both of his sticky hands in my direction. My “Whoa, Babe!” met his enthusiasm as I found release in his absolute joy.

My plan was to serve the cake right in the crock pot, hopefully warm, with melted chocolate chips on top. The chocolate chips were still at the store. Leaving the cake to cook we went for chocolate chips, party hats and uncurling party blowers. I could only imagine Kris being mortified; but somehow, it felt right. It was jubilant love; and we wanted to share it.

Kris’s friend, Sarah, and her mom, Joyce, treated us all to pizza to celebrate the day. I followed Kris there, as she needed her own vehicle to pick up Pippa on the way home. On the way there, I noticed her bumper sticker for the first time.

When we got to the pizza shop, J descended on the nearby box of toys. The adults took a table, and settled in. My new family. I touched my toe to the water. I was ready to show them what I was made of.

The cake held its presence behind me. I felt like a kid, our surprise hidden in the car: when could I bring it out?? Using the threat of rain as an excuse, I grabbed J and dashed into the parking lot.

We sneaked the cake past the front door and lit the candles on a back table. My babe had his party hat perched neatly on top of his shimmering head, a monkey on a bright green background leading the way. From the rear came my denuding call: HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!

I watched Kris’s shoulders hit the deck, and then to writhe in the complicated dance of love and embarrassment. We sat next to each other, our hugs and small touches knitting further the bond of our sisterhood.

It started back then. It started with shoulders, with sharp looks that somehow made me an exception. It grew on the trellis of two fierce hands joined for survival over the miles, and it traveled on ideas built out of mutual faith.

Today, Kris sat in front of her plate. On it, the cake we had made in our tiny house sat waiting. Before she even tasted it, she took a deep breath. Pausing in natural prayer, and I watched her heart give thanks.

Now, I give thanks to you. I love you, Kris.

 

Our Last Month Before Leaving

August 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

Last night was our final night sleeping at Saint Ann’s. I relished the peace of the church for our time there. It was almost like the old-fashioned notion of going to a sanitarium, the kind in movies with rolling green lawns and luxurious bathrobes. After the last few years, I needed a sanitarium like that. The scars of abuse, the weight of grief, and the stress of needing major change have worn me down. Saint Ann’s has helped me to get my spiritual, mental and emotional feet under me. I’ve never been especially graceful, but I’m in motion.

Kissing the back rail of Saint Ann's to say Thank You

For our last month here we’ll be staying with our friend, Gary, from a local store. When he offered us a place to stay, I was really touched and relieved. He doesn’t really know us, but his kind heart was called to answer our need. I didn’t think we’d have to take him up on his offer, but here we are. I can almost hear that voice talking to me, again.

Gary invited us to lunch on Sunday to show us his place and share a meal. Communion. I think we were all a little nervous at first. We only know each other from talking at the store. Gary was putting food on the grill for us. I watched him cut potatoes and shuck corn, spreading them lavishly with butter before putting them on the fire. He had a package of hotdogs thawing in the sink. “I’ll let those thaw a while,” he said.

A little while later, a covered dish appeared. “What’s that?”, my little one asked. “That’s for your mom,” he told him. In the container was a t-bone steak that he had marinated for me. He served this luxurious meal to me and took nothing for himself. I realized the hotdogs would be his own dinner, later. This humble man had given the best he had to offer to us and had taken nothing for himself.

While we were there, he opened his cupboards one by one, showing us all he had. They were filled to the edge. They couldn’t hold one more box, bag or can. In the refrigerator were two unopened gallons of milk, one regular and one chocolate. He had grapes and bananas, too. At the time I was so overwhelmed with the uncertainty of staying with a virtual stranger that I wasn’t even able to really understand what I was seeing. Later that night, I woke suddenly. It was for us. He was extending to us the fullest measure of his generosity and grace, setting a place for us at his table, offering us communion.

Last night was our first night in this new place. Gary’s home is comfortable and cozy, a very inviting and homey place to be. We went to bed before he got home from work, but when I woke at 1:30 to use the bathroom I found him in the living room watching television. On the counter was a package of goldfish crackers with a note on for my son. He had parked one of my babe’s little cars on top. In every elegant part of his gesture there was love and warmth.

Sunday’s sermon is still resonating in our lives. The warmth of companionship, communion, has been offered to us by someone whose every action toward us has felt like the loving hand of God moving in our lives. Even in uncertainty, We moved forward in faith, believing that God would lead us to a safe place to gather ourselves before getting on the road. God’s love touches us through our friend’s every gesture. His kindness and humility are like a warm embrace, a kiss on our cheeks that wishes us bon voyage. The message that started with a tree is still being spoken and we are listening with gratitude to every word.

Communion

 

Saint Ann’s

August 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

When you enter the front doors of Saint Ann’s, you are in the narthex. Our dear friend, Elise, has been my Episcopalian history and terminology instructor; she taught me that term. She delivers lessons from her broad bank of knowledge in an off-the-cuff, matter-of-fact style, but you can tell she has a deep love and sense of pride for this place and its history. She’s devoted her life to the care and service of Saint Ann’s. Elise has been a big part of making a home here for us. We’ve spent a lot of time sitting in this magical place, just us and Elise.

Elise playing ball with my babe

In the narthex, there is a big book on the table for guests to sign in. Our names are there with the date September 4, 2011.  That was the first time we came to Saint Ann’s. I was nervous. My previous experiences with religion made me skeptical, but I hoped I could get through church without too much discomfort. We needed community, companionship.

Today, Reverend Lisa talked about the word communion, what it is, what it means. She described communion as literally communing with others, sharing the warmth of companionship. She said it’s about being a part of one another as well as a part of God. Saint Ann’s has given us that gift. We have a place here. We have become a part of instead of apart from because of the characteristic open embrace of the Episcopal Church.

Lisa also talked about how communion is meant to put us in companionship with Christ, which is a very comforting idea. But my favorite part was when she talked about what that means. She said communion, coming to the table to share with God and one another, is supposed to transform us. She talked about being mindful of what that looks like, about bringing the love and compassion we get from God into our hearts so that we can extend that same grace to others.

That is the wonderful Episcopalian call to action that I love so much. Going to an Episcopal church is like going to an AA meeting, or a therapy session. That makes it different from my other church experiences. In the Episcopal Church they tell you about the love, grace and forgiveness you get; but they move past that and get down to changing our actions and our thinking. Rather than being just recipients of love and grace, we are supposed to give it, too. What good is all this love, justice and peace if we keep it for ourselves? It’s about communion.

Lisa also said, “Come broken and be healed.” If I hadn’t already been crying, I would have started then. So much in me is broken. When we first came to St. Ann’s, I could feel the pieces rattling around inside of me, a hollow vessel filled with shards of pain. The knowledge and perspective Lisa and Richard have shared with us poured something else into my vessel. It has poured in understanding, patience, healing and peace. I am still broken, but the pieces are being knit together with the fine things we have found here. They cushion those sharp corners. They give me a chance to see a purpose in my brokenness, and a hope that I could become whole.

Saint Ann’s has changed me. The Episcopal Church reflects back to me he dearest things I have always wanted for myself. It nurtures my own goals and values. I have cried many tears in my pew at Saint Ann’s; but mixed with my tears of grief there have also been tears of relief. Saint Ann’s has given us the companionship of friends, and of God. When we wrote our name in the book that first day, we really had signed up for communion. And for transformation.

No Looking Back

August 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

Sometimes there is no looking back. I was adrift in uncertainty, but something in me was awakened. I rubbed my eyes and looked around. And I prayed. For a long time I had prayed for change, much-needed change. There had been no movement, and every sparkle of hope fizzled out. A small glimmer of something burned inside of me to keep me going amidst the fear that it would never end. I kept praying.

It may sound like weird hocus-pocus to say I heard God speaking to me, but I did. I heard it in my heart so clearly. I had this feeling that if I just kept trying, kept moving forward, that something was about to happen. Everyone said the tree was a message, a mysterious fortune imbedded in disaster. I had an odd confidence that God had a plan of action that would soon unfold.

When your children pass away, faith becomes very confusing. Why did I have confidence in this prayer when prayer before hadn’t saved either of my sons? With Erik it was over a week of constant vigil, thousands of people praying everywhere. When they told me that there was no hope, that he was brain-dead, a wall came down. An intense volley of prayer had been hurled at the unyielding threat of Erik’s death. Why did God say no to my children, no to their lives?

I cried out, “This is RIDICULOUS!!” again and again. One amazing minister there said it with me. That comforted me like nothing else did, though I felt no comfort. It validated me, I’ll say. Not comforted. Comfort is not possible when your child dies. Still, I was grateful for that minister, then and now. He planted a seed in me. He gave me the chance to see the death of my child, my children, as something separate from God.

I don’t know. I can’t know. An answer without words stirs in me but doesn’t have enough form to be defined. I have to focus on what I do know, what speaks in my heart. Something in my heart was saying that I should just keep doing that, keeping listening, and the answer would come. The tree was kind of like God clearing His throat. To hear the rest required patience.

I try to stay tuned into the message. “We’re not going back,” I told my son. “We’re just going to leap into adventure! Is that o.k. with you?”  He leaped to his feet, gave a few hops, and threw his arms around my neck. His yes came out through his giggles. So with his vote cast for adventure, hand in hand, we journey on.

The Tree

August 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

Some of you may remember the storm that came through the north central and northeastern part of the US at the end of June. I hadn’t even heard that a major storm was coming, not really––at least not one that major.

I was at my desk with my son sleeping right next to me. In an instant, the room was vibrating. A sound like a roaring train was coming down on us. It sounded almost alive.
“If that is a storm,” I thought, “we are in big trouble.” A ripple of fear went through me. I ran to the door to see what was coming. A thick, smoke-grey cloud consumed the road, driving and swirling. The top of it mushroomed up to cover the sky, barely over the tops of the trees.

Just in that moment, I heard a sickening crack. A boom shook the house. It was over the room where my sweet babe was sleeping! I tore down the hallway to rescue him. All I could think of was Arthur and Erik, my other dear sweet ones, already gone. “Please don’t take my only living babe!!” was all i could cry out, from my whole heart.

When I saw my son asleep on that bed, I froze in motion. The sight of my beautiful child mesmerized me, still here, still whole. I ran to him, scooped him into my arms and screamed for help. The tree had come through the roof over my desk. Rain was pouring in on top of my computer, which I need to earn a living. Our young neighbor burst through the front door, “I’m here! I’m here to help you!”. She was an answered prayer. She helped save both my baby and my computer. I was so grateful she came to our rescue. She was the extra pair of hands I needed, just at the right time.

Stunned and wet, he and I whispered side by side in the sweltering heat until long after sundown. This was something new for both of us. The sky was the strangest, darkest salmon color that night. The color lingered like it was the new sky of alien world. It was, in a way. From there, nothing would ever be the same for us. Nothing would go back to normal. With the loudest knock I had ever heard, something new had arrived.

From the front of our dear friend, Brian’s, beautiful shop. It has been an oasis for us.

Building Adventure

August 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

It’s all coming together. I can’t believe that an idea that seemed like a distant fantasy is turning into a living creation. Bit by bit, a notion is growing into an intricate reality. It blows my mind!

My project is about change, about growth, about hope. It’s adventure, it’s humor, it’s life unfolding. Part of me is still distant from it, like I’m watching it happen; but I try to keep it in the here and now. Inch by inch. Do the next right thing. I’ve invested a lot of prayer in this opportunity and I’ll invest plenty more. It’s a joy. What an opportunity! Rebirth! But it’s real. It’s here. It’s my long prayed for Grand Opportunity.

We’ve charted a course. All along the way are beautiful, historic Episcopal Churches, each with their own unique presence and traditions. What fantastic territory to explore, especially with my sweet babe! We are going to take beautiful pictures of these places and share all of these gorgeous, interesting things with you. We’ll also share our adventures, our challenges, and the people we meet––and we will meet a lot of people. There aren’t many more social than we two. I think our friends would testify to that. :)

We’re also going to share something of our own history, surviving abuse, being transformed by the loss of my children. Things got so dark after that. Being a part of St. Ann’s has helped to let some of the light back in. Really, being a part of St. Ann’s has changed our lives. When the wide-open arms of the Episcopal Church took us in, I found a view of God that made me feel better, not worse. The Church has given us a great gift, and I want others to know about it. That is why once we get to our new, far-away home our collection of lovely photos and stories will go into a big, dazzling picture book, complete with a directory of all the Episcopal Churches in the United States.

I can’t WAIT to visit all of these places! I can’t sleep at night for the thrill and the fear. I don’t like to go fast, and I’m not much of a daredevil, but I’d say the feeling I have right now is probably not unlike the rush of adrenalin and joy once must feel when pushing off of a steep ski slope or jumping out of a plane. What a rush of world that is about to go by us. What kinds of things will unfold for my little boy? I can’t wait to find out.

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