I stood in the rain this morning, wrapped in my polka dotted raincoat, waving and blowing kisses. They are off, headlong into the setting sun. How many waves of the sea are between us now. Yet, this is how it must be. I feel my fingers releasing, one by one: these gifts given are not mine to keep.


As I am checking the flight tracker, Sam comes in, telling me that he’d like a quiver and some arrows to round out what he’s planned for his Spring Break. “Ahh, Samuel,” I am waxing eloquent with the poet’s words, “Tell me how children are like arrows.”

He muses on this a bit, then declares it must be because children are sent out, just like arrows, to be “Leaders for Righteousness” in the world. I smile, determined to pray for the path of the arrows and not to dwell on the dwindling quiver.

I find a new focus for my prayer life. Estonia. Baltic Europe. A little red star on the southern tip of the Gulf of Finland marks Tallinn, the capital city. This is where my children are going. It is one of the least religious areas of Europe. These people are not hostile, just indifferent. But might the Lord have some in this city? In Tartu?

And perhaps you would join me in praying for a motley group of flannel clad Vermonters, longing to bring hope to a broken world.


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Always A Mama

I am sitting in the waiting room. Daughter #1 is in the small, sterile “operating” room. Within an hour, her third molars will be wrested from her jaws (I’m making it sound perfectly horrific!).

She signed her own forms, adult that she is. I can start to feel that I am simply the financial guarantor and designated driver in today’s experience.

This girl turned woman, she is ready. Yesterday, she submitted her own prescription at the pharmacy. And she is poised for today, following all the instructions, willingly acquiescing to the “no food” directive.

Of course I remember the days when she demanded juice within a few moments of waking. The requisite sugar high. And the days when she was immature and unreasonable—or perhaps, better said, the days when she acted like the child she was. And sometimes on those long, long days, it seemed that she’d never grow up.

But now I wonder how I got here already. I am the mother of older children. Adults. Life has shifted. Those days when they were all little and all at home are gone. Now this stay-at-home-mom is rarely at home. In fact, my 10-year-old recently depicted each member of our family with a defining icon. I am holding car keys, which look a bit more like small hand saws.  At least I am smiling!!

Yes, I am the driver.  In the last week, I have driven to piano lessons, the grocery store, ice skating, church activities, the grocery store, dance classes, dance competitions, doctor’s appointments, the grocery store again (and we’re still out of milk!). I wonder why I often feel so scattered, why I can barely string a logical thought together. Sometimes it feels like life is fractured and disjointed and defined by the next outing.


So here I sit, caught between the worlds of childhood and adulthood, neither of which is well defined. It is a new place, a new way of parenting which is not quite as intuitive to me  as mothering little ones.  But I am still “Mom.” I am the one who will hold my daughter when she wakes up, and help her up the stairs and try to make the pain go away. I am the one who knows her heart. Yes, I am still mom, and she’ll always be my girl.

Posted in Daughters | 4 Comments

Watercolor . . .

I have always been impressed by my friends who could create art–people like Amy.  I have also thought that “creating art” was an esoteric gift for those privileged few who had a certain instinct.

Then a few months ago, my nine-(now ten!)-year-old daughter announced that she wanted to be an artist when she grew up.  A simple, and perhaps typical, childhood dream, but we learned about a local offering of a watercolor class.  I agreed to be a chaperone to some young painters.  After a few sessions, the teacher, noticing my interest, suggested that I join the class as well.

I started looking forward to class with an odd sense of anticipation.  “What would Judie have for us to do today?” I’d wonder.  And each week, a new little piece of wonder would unfold as I sat with my palette and paper.

So here it is, dear readers:  proof that with a little instruction, anyone can learn something new.  🙂


“Before the mountains were brought forth,
    or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
    from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” Psalm 90:2

Posted in Grace Gifts | 5 Comments

A Marriage Equinox

A few months ago, one of my engineer friends introduced me to the idea of  a “marriage equinox.”  It’s when you have been married longer than you have been single.  A few clicks on a date calculator, and I learned that my husband was unmarried for 8,377 days.  As of today, he has been married for 8,377 days.  He found this worthy of celebration and brought home half a dozen beautiful roses, reminiscent of the ones from our wedding day.


In those 8,377 days, my husband has learned how to be a husband.  Sure, he read all the required books before we walked down the aisle, but the “boots on the ground” learning must be done by doing . . . by shoveling snow and warming the car, by making dinner when a pregnant wife lies sleeping on the couch, by meeting downtown during lunch break . . . by a million little things that all add up to one big, glorious thing called marriage.

On a drizzly January afternoon when we held hands and pledged it all, we were all hopes and dreams.  Since then we have navigated the maze of job changes, address changes, six kids, a challenging diagnosis, joy and heartache, pain and pleasure.  We are nearly twenty three years in–not long enough to be experts, but long enough to know that there is a mystery here.  It is a mystery of wonder and mercy.  It is a little, shadowy picture of Christ and His Church, lived out in the northwest corner of Vermont.  It is an equinox of grace.

Posted in Marriage | 2 Comments

Summer’s End

It came to my e-mail inbox–the high school notification of freshman orientation.  You would think I would be used to this, having already sent three children to the high school.  But I got a lump in my throat and quickly closed the e-mail.  I just don’t feel ready.

But whether I’m ready or not, she must go. And just like the others, she is ready to go.  I guess I am just wanting to savor the childhood of my children, and high school feels so.grown.up!

Summer 2014 395Let this be a lesson to me to savor each day of her high school years–I know there will be happy ones and hard ones.  There will be the requisite ups and downs that mark the passage to independence.  But as she gazes on her Savior, I know she’ll do just fine.

Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.”  Psalm 34:5



Posted in Daughters | 2 Comments

The Empty Screen

Here I sit at an empty screen.  It has been a while since I’ve posted.  In that space of time, I’ve been at once busy and quiet, full and empty.  At times I have felt as if I have nothing to say.  At others, I have so much on my mind that I can’t begin to organize my thoughts.

I have wondered why I keep this record . . . why anyone might want to read what I write.  And what is the point of adding my voice to the many other voices competing for our time and attention?  I have considered the “information overload” and the “opinion overload” that clutter the internet.  And honestly, I’ve been a bit overwhelmed by it all.

Then I came across this little quote, and it got me thinking.  I found it in a devotional book which I recently purchased from an antique store, and it appeared on the entry date for my birthday.  Perhaps there is something of value here:

“Give what you have; to someone it may be better than you dare to think.”  —Longfellow

So here is my humble offering.  I will give what I have–random musings on the ways my faith intersects my very ordinary life.

And I offer an invitation.  Come rejoice with me!  There is so much to celebrate!  The simple joys of home and family, the quiet hours in the Word, the beauty of New England–I want to share it!   Mine is not a perfect life, but it is a redeemed one, filled with eternal favor.  It is marked by joy that is deeper than sorrow and peace that is greater than pain.  Mostly, it is simply a testimony to how good God is and how undeserving I am.  Thank you for sharing my joy with me!

Here are just a few pictures that capture the essence of our summer:

DSC_0109Summer 2014 372Summer 2014 442082



Posted in Grace Gifts | 4 Comments


She had a headache.  She looked at me with that desperate gaze.  I know what this feels like–when the world is spinning and your head is throbbing and you can’t even string a logical thought together.

I brought her to the couch–my littlest one–and we lay down and she fell asleep with her head on my chest.  I fell asleep too, my eyes heavy with the weight of the day.

It was good to have her close to me.  Close and safe and filled up with love.  Was this the last time I would hold her like this, feeling her warm head nestled under mine, hearing the sweetness of her sleeping breath?

And can I tell you how many times I’ve said “No” to her? . . . “No, I can’t snuggle tonight because . . . ya-da, ya-da, ya-da.”  But this time I gave a delicious “Yes.”

I was late to my meeting that evening, but I wasn’t in a hurry.  Instead I took joy in the goodness of saying “yes” to an irretrievable moment . . . one I’ll never have back, yet will hold forever in the hollow of my heart.


Posted in Daughters, Family | 4 Comments


Just this from Spurgeon today:

“The fair earth is full of tokens of God’s presence.”

DSC_0465_edited-1And this from the Word:

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”

Isaiah 55:10-13 DSC_0466_edited-2

Posted in Grace Gifts, Seasons | 1 Comment

be still

Stillness.  I find it in the quiet of the morning . . . in the hush of the night.

I find it in the edges of the day.

How can I find it in the middle?

When there are broken arms and spilled milk, piano lessons and orthodontic visits?

Yet, there is this command:  not to find stillness, but to be still.

To be still and know.

To know that He is God.

To listen to the One who commands the surges and swells of my own heart, “Be still.”

A friend recently reminded me to consider the goal of stillness.  Quietness of heart is not merely an attitude of resignation.  It is so much more.  It is meant to teach me how my portion might fit me for His purposes . . . how I might bring glad glory to Him in the middle.

Yes, even when the laundry is five loads deep, or the call comes in from ski patrol, or the little one with the tender heart needs just one more hug . . . this is when He speaks, “Be still.”  When the school kids are late out the door, or the muffins fall in the soapy sink, or the tire goes flat on the way to church . . . this is when He speaks, “Be still.”  This is when He reminds me that He is God.  And He is good.

linking with WriteAlm’s daily prompts for February


Posted in Living and Active | 3 Comments

in the beginning

It’s a new year.  Still, the Christmas tree shines in the corner, a sweet reminder that the joy of Christmas is meant for all days.  I’m linking up this evening with a prompt from Write Alm.  Today’s words:  “In the Beginning . . . “

In the beginning it was dark.  Cold.  Void.

The nothingness begged for Redemption’s voice.

Was it a whisper?  A shout?  This divine imperative . . .

calling forth life.

Day, night, sun, sky, water, breath . . . life.

The beginning was good.

Another beginning,

eternity clothed in flesh.

Redemption’s voice crying in a teenager’s arms.

A heart beating life.

The silence of years stilled by an infant cry.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.

The light shines in the darkness, beginning again.

The beginning is good.

DSC_0252Write Alm January Prompt-A-Day

Posted in Gospel, Seasons | 3 Comments