We Called You Nugget


It’s not what I thought you would be called when we found out you were coming.  I thought you would be Monkey because, well, everything is monkey in our house.

I won’t say that we were trying to have you.  Your daddy and I just said we were staying out of God’s way.  The week before I knew you were with us, I asked your Aunt Jerri what her pregnancy symptoms were. Hers didn’t help.

I was exhausted that week. . .being who I am, sleep is no stranger, and I’m quite good at it, but this was different.  It was a real struggle to stay up past eight.  If the phone rang at nine I wanted to know who was calling so late.  Jerri and I texted every day.  She wanted me to take a test, but I kept saying no.  I was waiting.

December 3, 2016 I took the test while your daddy slept.  He had to work that night.  The little line showed up! You announced your presence! It was difficult for me to not go jump on the bed. But I didn’t. Instead, I thanked God for you. He thought we should be parents.

And, so we are.

I left the positive test with a onesie I bought in Scotland that summer on your daddy’s sink.  When he finally went in there, he asked, “Do two lines mean positive?” It made me laugh because why else would I leave a onesie and a pregnancy test on his sink?

And when we started telling people, you were Nugget.

My excitement was so strong, I couldn’t stop telling people.  Two weeks after we knew you were with us, we were able to get with your grandparents and tell them.  They were so excited. We gave them all a book to read to you when you came, some baby wipes, a burp cloth (or vomit cloth as your daddy says), and a clean onesie.  I have to say, though, telling your great granddaddy Coleman was probably my favorite.  We got to his house and told him we had news.  He made us wait so he could lean against the wall since “it sounds important.” Then we said, “We’re having a baby!” He started to grin, and then said, “You mean a human baby, right?” How well does he know his family that he had to clarify if the baby was human or of the animal kind?

It was Christmas Day when I realized just how excited your daddy was. He filled my stocking with baby things.  But it wasn’t the things that let me know; it was seeing how lit up his eyes became when he talked about being in the infant section of the store.

You got several things for Christmas from your family.  Things they wanted you to have when you got here. Money for a savings account. Ornaments that were all your own. Every one couldn’t wait for you to get here.

When I went back to work, I decided I could tell the people at school.  My students were excited to know that you were coming.  They encouraged me and let me know that I would be a great mom. We felt sure that since you’d been with us for over two months, we were safe to tell people.

But that Friday, January 6, I spotted. We went to have an ultrasound for peace of mind because twenty percent of women spot during pregnancy. But in a heart beat, the breath was sucked out of us.

You had decided to hang out in my Fallopian tube–stubborn child. And some time in week seven your little heart stopped and you went to Jesus. Your great grandparents were waiting for you. You saved my life, most likely, by doing that. Had you continued to grow where you were, I would have had internal bleeding, and you still would die.

It all was too fast. To be so full of joy and hope and then to be shaken with grief and loss.

To not get to hold you.

To have someone cut you out of me.

To question why God would answer prayer this way.

To not understand.

Your father and I have grieved, cried, and prayed together. He has been my rock, and I pray I have been his. His first words in the midst of all the shock were that he didn’t regret a moment of the time we had with you. And later, he said, you see the whole puzzle with God while we see only a piece.

I don’t regret it either. Feeling my body change.  Telling people. Planning for you. Dreaming.

And one day, we’ll see you again because we have Hope.

But I miss you.

Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”



Defining Special

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My Opa died September 2. 

He would have been 95 on September 7. We had planned a birthday party for September 10, and since the family was already going to be together, the decision was made to make it a memorial luncheon.

It was a nice gathering. My brother made a beautiful box for Opa’s ashes. We enjoyed the company of each other. Wished Opa a happy birthday. But that was it. 

I need a service.

I need to hear what people outside the family remember and love about this man who was larger than life to me for so long.

And I need a song.

So, this is my attempt to have a service for my Opa.

Growing up, Opa came to see us maybe twice a year. He was exotic, and it was always exciting when he was coming. There was a time when he had a little camper and parked it in the back yard. I was fascinated by the original tiny house. He lived in Europe for part of my childhood and had extensive travel experience. The gifts he brought always seemed quite extravagant.

But one of my favorite things was trying to learn Dutch from him. I was not successful. I think mess means knife.

I was an adult before I knew anything about Opa’s amazing past. He was taken off a train by Nazis in occupied Netherlands, forced to work in a plant in Germany, escaped, joined the Dutch resistance, became a Dutch Marine, trained in the United States, met my grandmother.

 I was always proud to say that my grandfather was a naturalized citizen who had taken hold of the American opportunity and worked hard. I thought it made me special that I was second generation on that side of the family.

But it is also as an adult that I appreciate this man who, quite honestly, somewhat intimidated the me child. He had a sense of humor that I can still smile about. One of our last conversations included a joke about his medication. And he worried about my well being and happiness. Not long ago when Steven and I went to visit him, we had a few minutes alone and he encouraged me in my marriage to be kind and thoughtful so we would have a better chance of making it work.

What makes me special is not my immigrant grandfather, but his love.


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Pictures from our elopement.

I got married!

And then we moved.

Finally, sold our house.

And he started a blog.

So, I missed mine.

Stay tuned for more to come….

The death of a blog


seasonedjournalSo, back in May I said I’d see you in June.

And I did once.

And then I was gone again.

I’m not sure how that happens. Life, maybe? I had really good intentions when I started my blog (even though I really just don’t understand where the word “blog” came from and how it came to mean posting musings online). I think I did really well for those first 8 to 9 months as well.

Then, in that tenth month, I became sporadic.

Then, in that eleventh month, I gave myself a vacation.

Then, at the year, well, by then, I had completely forgotten my blog and there was nothing.

Isn’t that the way with many things in our lives? Maybe even things as important as relationships. We do really well for a while. We call, talk, make time for dinner, walks, sharing.

Then, we get busy. We think, oh, it’s not important to touch base today. My friend will be there tomorrow. Then we forget the next day because we need groceries, and then we need to run to the post office and the bank. Oh, and after that we have to get the grass mowed and the laundry folded. And, whew, finally we can sit down for a minute, and we fall asleep.

But there’s always tomorrow, right?

And suddenly (except not so suddenly) our friend isn’t there tomorrow.

There’s only one person I know who is always there tomorrow no matter how much we neglect our relationship with Him. But I bet He wishes we would take time to nurture that one too. He wants to know about your grocery shopping, and post office needs, and how the grass makes your eyes itchy and you’re terrified of yellow jackets. And He wants to know how you love His sunsets and the way your newly mowed grass smells after rain and how much you appreciate the people He has put in your path.

And He wants you to reach out to that friend you said will be there tomorrow.

Don’t let the relationships in your life die as easily as my blog seems to have.


Do You Have Your Passport?


CarolynI love to travel.  If I could find a way to do it full time, I probably would.  I love taking my students to Europe and watching them realize just how big the world is and then come to the conclusion that while we’re all unique, we are all alike as well.  People have dreams and hopes and fears and families and friends and insecurities and confidence and all the rest of it no matter what their first language is or where they live.

This love of traveling was sparked in me by my friend Carolyn.  I introduced you to her when I first wrote about my book club, Between the Covers.  She was an amazing woman.  She possessed class and dignity and compassion and humor and more knowledge about literature and teaching than I can ever hope to attain.  She took me to London and Paris in 2005 and opened up the world to me.

Several years ago we were going to go to Rome.  But she couldn’t find her passport.  She looked everywhere.  Carolyn considered having it replaced, but her health was declining, and she wasn’t sure if she’d really ever get to use it again anyway.  As it turns out, 2005 was her last trip across the pond.  The lost passport became somewhat of a joke–if we misplaced things we’d say “It’s with Carolyn’s passport.”Passport

However, Carolyn had the most important passport there is.  Carolyn knew our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  She was a godly woman who was an example not only to me, but also to everyone she was around.  She touched so many lives–in her family, in her friends, in her classroom, in her church, in her visits to the hospital and cancer center, in her nail salon, in restaurants.  She was steadfast in her faith.

Carolyn knew John 14:6: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

This morning Carolyn’s Passport was stamped by Jesus Himself as He welcomed her home.

See you in June

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I’ve inadvertently taken May off. . .end of school year.  See you back here in June!

April Spice Cabinet

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Well, here we are at the fifth Wednesday of April.  I’m running slightly behind in getting my post up, but I’m getting it.  While I type this I’m soaking my feet in a mixture of Listerine, vinegar, and water to see if it will slough off the dead skin to get ready for summer.  It definitely smells strong enough.  Let’s see what else is in the spice cabinet. . .

1. This was bathroom for many, many years.  I really loved it. rubberduckbathroom

It was whimsical.  However, a couple of years ago, I had my bathroom gutted and now it is like this. . .Sometimes, I still go in there and marvel at what a beautiful bathroom it is.











2.  Daisy turned two this month.  When I got her she had a pig toy that her Auntie Wendy gave her.  She loved that toy more than anything. daisyandherpig Now every time I buy her a new toy, I wonder if she’ll like it as much as she liked that oinky pig.  Her latest is this; it’s pink, of course, giving it a chance.










3. And finally, the other night I treated myself to a box of comfort food.  I was amused by the back of the box because it said this:


I see absolutely no reason to add anything to a wonderful box of mac and cheese to make it a main dish.  It can stand on its own!

And the Listerine, vinegar, and water. . .well, it didn’t live up to its claim.

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