Its 10:50 and I’ve finally slipped that last leg brace over the small foot, pulled the last shoe in place, and we’re ready to face the day.  It was a lazy relaxing morning, watching videos of our cousin Gavin [whom we cannot wait to meet], taking “train rides”, snuggling on the sofa…

It’s been 3 months, plus 9 days, since our day-to-day changed drastically.

I thought by now we’d be a good ways into the adjustment process.  And while familiarity and bonding is happening, every little adjustment accomplished, brings awareness of more knowing, more growing, more trust, more bonding needed.

Resting today in scriptures promise that before my kids were even formed in their mother’s womb, God knew them.  All their days were numbered.  Including the unkown one of today.


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Embracing my Reality (and others)


There’s a lot of pressure in the blogging, instagram, Facebook, etc. world.  It can be easy to look at others “perfect” lives and compare. What is intriguing to me is this growing trend of “keeping it real” by posting a pic of your chaotic messy house.


My reality: Our world has changed. Love the sight of my kids walking hand-in-hand with their daddy.

When I’m going through a difficulty, your messy house picture does nothing to convince me that you have it difficult.  In fact, when I’m sitting in the Emergency Center of MD Anderson Cancer Center, I’m wishing for simple things like a messy house (well, actually I’m not because at that point, messy houses are so not on my radar).



My reality: Duane works from home, except for when he doesn’t. This is a huge gift for this season of our lives. Here he is walking home from his “coffee shop office”.

I recently saw someone’s pics on line and found myself almost being jealous.  I quickly assured myself that her life isn’t as good as it looks.  But then, I thought. . . What if it is?  What if truly IS as good as it looks, or better?  Can I be ok with that?  Can I celebrate her and her life?  Can I embrace what is true about her life (which seems to be pretty amazing at the moment)?


My reality: I love to read, but have been doing very little lately. In my down time, my brain has been choosing to enter it’s do-nothing box more then it chooses to read.

What if instead of trying to convince people we don’t have the perfect life we seem to be portraying… what if instead we would present what’s really true?

What if instead, we would embrace our reality and offer that.  Embrace the reality of who we are and the reality of where we are and offer our truly real selves.

What if we wouldn’t feel pressure when presented with others realities – amazing and not so amazing.

What if there would be no competition to look amazing, or to make sure everyone knows “we’re real” around here. Because “keeping it real” feels like it comes with pressure, also… pressure to make sure everyone knows I’m just like them.

What if instead of giving into the pressure of comparing and detereming to “keep it real”, I’d live the story God has given me, embrace my reality and compare less.



My reality: Longing and hoping for just enough of these peaceful moments to get us through the difficult adjusting moments.


So here’s to embracing my reality this week – the good, the bad, and the ugly.


A Glimpse of the Story


So much of my life is focused on me.  And I can live my life so un-aware of the other Story going on.  The one that only really truly matters – has weight.  But occasionally, very occasionally, I get a glimpse of the bigger Story, and I rest.  Cause when I see it – the big Story – even just a slight bit of it – my story grows really small.  My fears, my needs, my wants, my desires – they become small.



It’s really a dichotomy – this thing we call life.  On one hand, it’s so not about me.  On the other hand, the Creator of the story cares incredible much about the details of my life and it is about me.  Just in a different way then I humanly normally think.

It happened the other evening, one small sighting of the big story.  I had pulled weeds out from between the radishes and peas and beans and onions and peppers.  I was worn out from a rather long hard day of work and sat down on the corner of a neighboring raised bed, while I waited for Duane to finish the amazing tomato cages he was constructing.

I sat there, and possibly it was because of my feelings of exhaustion, but I contemplated if there really was much purpose to my life.  I wondered why we live here, this neighborhood. Are we really making any impact? Does our life in this city have purpose?

And I thought about what life lived near my family would look like.  And I couldn’t think of any more important value or purpose we’d have there.  And I thought about living near Duane’s family.  And I couldn’t think of any more important value or purpose living there either.  And for a moment I felt very purposeless – powerless to offer anything good to the world.




And it was in that moment it became clear.  This life – the one I’m living – really isnt’ about me, what I can do, what I have to offer.  The Story is so much bigger.  It’s about the God of the universe.  It’s about Him being known and His name being lifted up.  The details of wether I live here or there – not so important.  The details of what I do – not so important.  What is important is that God be magnified, that God be known.  It’s His story.

And then the other humbling truth – He cares.  This great big God.  This mighty Creater.  He cares.  He cares about the details of where I live.  He cares about the details of how I live.

And I’m humbled in this dance between what seems like opposing truths, that really are so wrapped up in One.  If only I could live in constant awareness of this truth.

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I Love you Spring! (alt. title: Damage Cleaning)


I’m in love with this time of year, the time when life blossoms – when green overcomes pink.  In winter, the dead season, I’m aware that God is very much alive and at work, but when nature displays it so well, it settles deep.  This aliveness.  This life.

Pink and green are vying for favorite status.  Green might be winning.


I come alive this time of year.  I do damage cleaning.  {Let me interrupt this flow of thought for a definition. Damage cleaning has minimal similaries to spring cleaning.  Damage cleaning can happen in any season, though its very likely to happen in the spring when so much life, energy, and excitement is flying around.  Damage cleaning also has many different facets and often includes rearranging.  And damage cleaning is almost never the whole house.  Just a very focused intense change up in a particular area.  This term was coined by one of the youth girls I used to hang out with when I worked at the church.  Whenever I damage clean, I think of her with fond thoughts.}  Moving on.  I plant things.  I dream.  I make plans.  I walk.  We eat in our “back yard”.  We garden.  We dream.  We make plans.  We create.



The living room was the targeted damage cleaning zone.  Curtains washed, windows scrubbed, sofa cover washed.  Ok, I’ll quit with those boring details.  The fun stuff was a complete re-arrange.  Oh, yes.  Fun, fun.  The sofa is in a location it never was before, because I always thought it impossible due to a heating vent right by the front window.  Then I realized sofa’s don’t have to go right up against walls.  They can be out a foot or two and look totally ok.  What a wonderful discovery.  And besides, we’re not using heat this time of year.  So the living room has a new look, including walls as well.




The piano is happy in its new location.  And the table… It still looks like the awkward misfit it is.  But it’s a good life lesson to us that awkward is ok.  And misfits have value and something to offer.  Besides, we like it.



The garden is growing.  New plots have been created.  Dorky window boxes lived to see another year.  And things are growing indoors as well.



It’s spring time.  And life is everywhere.




Embracing the Hard


Duane first mentioned running the 10 miler Broad Street Run when we were out watching it last year.  I agreed that it looked like a lot of fun, but knew I could never do that.

In the fall when he started bringing it up again, I agreed to go running with him. When he started telling our friends that we’re training for the Broad Street Run, I always  clarified that he is training, I’m running with him, and we’ll see about me actually doing it.  In other words, I was saying I’ll do it if it’s not too difficult; if it comes easily for me, I’ll keep training and run it.

One morning after coming back from a run, it suddenly dawned on me, that I’ve tended to  live my life choosing easy.  (i.e. School was fairly easy for me, and I naturally got good grades.  Unfortunately, I was content with that, and didn’t bother putting in hard work to get excellent grades.)  I decided, I’m not ok with that any more.  I want to learn to accept challenges, to embrace hard.

Because a true fact of life is, that hard experiences will come; and perhaps if I could learn to embrace hard things of my choosing, I could also learn to embrace and thrive in hard things I didn’t choose.

And running was hard.  There were side-stitches.  There was knee pain.  There was foot pain.  There were lungs gasping for breath.  There were screaming muscles.  And there was my brain rebelling about getting out of bed at 5:45am for the fifth day in a row.

And yesterday we did it!  We ran that length of Broad Street I thought I could never run.



At the finish line!


And I’m looking for a new challenge.  This embracing  hard things is quite fulfilling, actually.




Who is This Mysterious God


You called me out upon the waters*

I thought getting out of the boat, braving the storm, following God’s Spirit out onto the water, sounded large.  It sounded big, but I’d been through quite the storms already, so I thought, though slightly scary, I could handle this.  I’ve been through hard.  Unknown is scary, yes, but i know hard.

Losing Duane’s mother suddenly to cancer and receiving the news that we were infertile (and, save a miraculous work of God, we would never conceive), all in the space of four months. . . Yes, we knew hard.  We knew intense grief.

It also sounded very noble, godly even, this following God out on the waters.  It sounded like a good Christian thing to do. Peter did it.  He didn’t do so well.  But me? I’ve had some life experience.  I could do this.


The great unknown*

Waiting and waiting and waiting for God to bring us a child through adoption. . . waiting, hoping, praying, longing, waiting.  Yes, we knew hard.  We knew intense grief.  So surrender actually seemed an easy choice.  He had proven faithful through the losses.  It seemed He was trustworthy enough to give him our future, our adoption desire.


Spirit lead me where my feet would never wander*

I really wanted this.  In spite of knowing it could be scary, I wanted to go on this crazy adventure.  I really truly wanted to accept the life path God had for me.  It was an exhilarating and overwhelming thought, to give my future completely to God.  To not demand my wants, but to patiently wait for God to lead where He wills.


Where feet may fail*

Some how the reality of this line didn’t sink in.  And when tragedy struck again.  When we once again heard the words that a family member was “not going to make it”, my feet failed.  I begged and pleaded with God to change His mind.  I pleaded with God for a miracle.  And I may have even come across a bit demanding.    I was so upset that less then three years later He would again ask us to travel the 1500 miles of grief.  That He would ask us to bury another.  That He would leave my dear sister-in-law husbandless.  And those four sons of theirs, fatherless.

We had come to say “good-bye”.

My feet failed.

He has filled me with bitterness;
    he has sated me with wormwood.

He has made my teeth grind on gravel,
    and made me cower in ashes;
my soul is bereft of peace;
    I have forgotten what happiness is;
so I say, “My endurance has perished;
    so has my hope from the LORD.”

Remember my affliction and my wanderings,
    the wormwood and the gall!
My soul continually remembers it
    and is bowed down within me.

(Lamentations 3:15-20 ESV)


Sack cloth and ashes never sounded so inviting. That’s where my heart was. It was the only image that matched my grief, my anguish, my despair.

Hope is rising!

When the miracle came.  When we heard a 3 hour trip to another hospital, late into the night would give him a 50/50 chance, my feet failed again, as my body, though heart rejoicing, went into auto-pilot.  I functioned.  I hurriedly packed our suitcase for another quick trip.  I did what needed doing, the adrenaline coursing through my veins.  And when we arrived at the emergency room, I stood by my husbands side with all the paper-work, helping him get his brother admitted to the emergency room.  My vision so completely blurry from the “dried out after days of tears” affect, I blundered on, fighting for my brother-in-law.  My sister-in-law.  My nephews.  My husband.

The tears, the grief, the anguish, they all left.  Replaced with something unrecognizable.  It was a numbness, possibly shock mode as I couldn’t process this possible hope.

And as doctors came and procedures were performed and test and studies taken, hope continued to come.  And I didn’t know what to do with this realized hope.  Hope was something intangible in our previous storms.  It was an idea, a concept, something clung to, but not realized.  This was hope present.

And my feet failed.

I thought I knew God.  I thought I had a fair understanding of how He works.  Who is this God?  This God who is sovereign and can do what He wills.  And the fact of this hope, proves that He can do miracles.  He DID hear our cry.  So what does this mean about my past storms?  Why not then?  Who is this God?  And what does it look like to trust Him?

My feet failed.

“Is it safe to follow Him out upon the waters?”  This great unknown.  Will God continue to grant life?  Is God trust-worthy wether He does or He doesn’t?  Who is this God?

Could this be what trust looks like? Is this a picture of waiting quietly?

Could this be what trust looks like? This babe at rest in his mothers embrace.


But this I call to mind,
    and therefore I have hope:

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
    “therefore I will hope in him.”

(Lamentations 3:21-24 ESV)


This I know.  The Lord is faithful.  His love never ceases.  His Mercy, oh how greatly needed, yes! His Mercy does not end.  Therefore I hope in Him.

He, the God Almighty who is so mysterious, He is Hope.  He is Hope present when storms have unhappy endings.  And He us Hope present in waiting. In unknown.  He is HOPE!

The LORD is good to those who wait for him,
    to the soul who seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly
    for the salvation of the LORD.

(Lamentations 3:25-26 ESV)

And so, by the grace of mysterious God Almighty, I wait quietly because He says it is good. 



*Song credit


Worth Celebrating


There are lots of reasons to celebrate a birthday.

There are lots of WAYS to celebrate a birthday.

But this way. . .  this way, touches me.  The celebrated is offering the gift. He’s been given the  amazing gift of turning 17 and now being able to give blood to his dad.

He celebrates this birthday by giving his dad a piece of him that we hope, oh how we hope, brings more life to his dad.

I’m so touched by this.  The son giving life.
You’re awesome, Derek!  I wish I were so brave.

 Here’s the link to the Facebook post.


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~A year of lessons in patience and trust
~Beginning to feel a sense of belonging in our neighborhood
~Celebrating new family through marriage and birth
~Enjoying and growing our relationships with our church community

~So far mostly hopes and dreams
~Desiring to trust God when He calls us, like Peter, to step out onto unknown oceans




II Peter 3: 18 Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ…

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Merry Holidays!


A shout-out to last year:

I love that there are 3, very worth celebrating, holidays back-to-back.  This year, the holidays were actually pretty low-key for us.  At the beginning of December, I had made a list of fun things to do throughout the month, but somehow the list got lost and the items on the list lost importance.  We like our schedule to rate rather low on the “busyness scale” and though our life is not always perfectly balanced, it mostly is un-busy. So in order for this holiday season to be un-busy, the list had to go.

I love how the city quiets when it snows.

I love how the city quiets when it snows.

We kept it rather simple around here this year.  Not making a trip to Texas this year (first since Duane & I happened) definitely made for a more relaxed schedule.

It started with Thanksgiving evening with my family.  Just the evening, because we all like having a bit of cushion in our schedule – free time to de-clutter our lives.  It included a wonderful cookie exchange – the first of many (TOO many) sweets to come through our front door – puzzle assembling, a football game, and yummy soup.

There were book clubs to wrap up (such lovely times spent with dear friends), cookie exchanges, Christmas parties, and more.



Much merry-ing went on that day.

The Sunday before Christmas was spent with my family leaving Christmas Eve and Christmas Day completely wide open.  Fun fact:  Did you know that “every” restaurant – chain, family owned, hole-in-the-wall –  within a 2 mile radius of us closes before 6:00pm on Christmas Eve, with the exception of Popeyes?  Yes, we celebrated Christmas Eve with Popeyes.  It was the sixth place Duane tried.  She thought she was gonna have to head to the kitchen and magically rustle some grub together at the 11th hour.  But thankfully we were able to spend a cozy evening over chicken, rice & beans, mashed potatoes, biscuits, a movie, and gifts.



And Christmas Day, because we were so “un-busy and bored”, we headed out to my parents and hung out just us, the parents, and the baby brother.  Once again we did some puzzle assembling, ate yummy homemade pizza, and warmed by the fire.

And despite the fact that we did not go to Texas over the holidays, we did get to have a little Friesen family Christmas as the new year pushed out the old.  Our Friesen family Christmas dinner consisted of Briskett (thanks Omar & Irene) potato wedges, BBQ’d green beans, pecan pie, and ice-cream.  No it’s not the traditional Friesen Christmas meal, but it was good.



Eugene unfortunately (or possible fortunately) arrived late to the dinner, due to the train not being able to traverse the tracks and him and his goodwill bringing a car full of strangers back to the city with him.  Such a fun story that would make one of those perfect “feel good Christmas” movies.  Ahh, yes, all the goodwill and happiness that flies around during the holidays.

Rachel made New Years cookies which we devoured over games.

Rachel made New Years cookies which we devoured over games.




And New Years Eve was spent playing games with friends.




So glad this darling munchkin came to visit us. Super glad he brought his mommy & daddy, also.

And the Friesens went back to their homes, and we are left here in the city, in a new year to be discovered, enjoyed, lived, and celebrated.



Wanting God More


What does it look like to desire God more then anything else. To want Him more then the blessed life. To want Him more then safety. To want Him more then any of my dreams and hopes. To want Him more then a good health report. To want Him more then happiness. What does it look like for me to want Him, more then I want Him to make my life perfect.

I wonder what it is like for You, to love us so much that You sacrificed Your life to be with us, and we could be with You. To love us, and we could love You. Enjoy us and we could enjoy You. But being with You, loving You, and enjoying You was not what we wanted most. What we wanted most was for You to cooperate with us in getting whatever else it is – family – health – career – enough money – all kinds of hapy-blessing-things – that we want so much more. That must be intensely painful for You. You are well acquainted with relational pain, aren’t You? (Shema of a Soul -Kimberlye Berg,

An incredibly good book that drew my heart to God.  I’d highly recommend it.



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