November 7, 2013


“it’s a thunderchild crabapple tree.”  She says….  “we got it for you, thought the name fit well” she says, with humor and sarcasm all mixed in.  I can’t really argue.   It does describe me, where I am, what I am doing… These teenage years all full of what seems like what has to be the most dramatic and hardest days of life.

Fastforward a good number of years, I am out of the house with my own brood to raise, and “my tree” is in a bad spot.  My dad has to move the tree.  Not something trees like to do… Not at all.  Well, it has to be done.  My beautiful, screaming pink, sweet smelling tree is pulled from the ground, roots and all, and relocated.  Moved to a new spot in the yard and replanted and cared for, and hoped for… A new life… A new beginning…  Will it make it through such a tremendous strain?

…. …. .. …. . . .   …….

Another number of years go by… “you are bearing fruit” she says.  Confused and caught off guard I reply “what are you talking about?”  … ” your tree! it is full of apples.”  … … …  Dumbfounded, I stare.  There it is right in front of my face.  My thunderchild, full of apples.  Good sized, edible yellow apples.  How?  How can this be?  Crabapples don’t even bare fruit. … ….

. … … … …

do you see it?  Do you see the parable of my life played out right in front of my eyes through an apple tree?  Here’s what I see.  I remember when I was all full of myself, all about showing off my youth and vibrancy, regardless of whether or not there will be fruit to come… Just like that beautiful thunderchild.  And then my Father saw fit to move me, because of things I couldn’t understand, and replant me in another place.  A place I didn’t pick and a place I didn’t want to be. … Just like my tree.  And finally, after years of struggle to heal, growing again.  starting to bare fruit.

Now to the part that is almost more than I can take in.  It was only because of the  painful uprooting and struggle that the thunderchild now has limbs with fruit.  You see, because the little tree was so starkly cut back, it had to go to it’s true roots.  what everyone saw as a glorious blooming spring tree was only the result of a grafting process.  The true root was a golden delicious, which of course produces So much more than blossoms.  Just like me.  Grafted in.  grafted…  Finally producing because of the true root that i am grafted to.  thank God!  … … Thank God I was grafted in to the true root, which is Christ, and thank God I was moved and made to struggle so that the veneer fell away.

Amazing.  I am amazed ….  Amazed and encouraged.  A thunderchild brought back to her true roots.


Keep me as the apple of your eye, hide me in the shadow of your wings.

psalm 17:8



May 8, 2011

a thousand things…

January 17, 2011

a friend shared a blog with me recently and I thought I’d share it with you.  at the moment she has a post about listing all the gifts of thanks that you receive at any given time and she has asked others to list theirs too.  there is a link at the bottom of this post, so that you can check it out. 

here’s what I’m thankful for so far today.  there is an endless list from days before and I’m sure there are more things to come then I can even imagine. 

I woke up with breath in my lungs and joy in my heart.

my legs worked just like I expected them to when I rolled out of bed and landed on the floor.

a heated house

sleeping children

a puppy who thinks the world of me and shows it every time he trots toward me with tail wagging

an incredible husband who gets up early, even though he’d rather be under the cozy down comforter with me, and heads of to work

running vehicles

food in the cupboard

the way cole sings along to all  the intro songs to all  the cartoons

a beautiful young helper who shows up with a smile on and steps right in to help cole finish his eggo while I go start laundry

clothes to wash and something to wash them in

when the garage door shuts on the first try

grocery stores so overwhelming stocked with food and produce that I hardly know where to begin

a free country where I can go to the overwhelming packed grocery store without fear of suicide bombers or child trafficking or drug lords

the man on the corner on a cold day in january with a sign around his neck that reads, ‘desperate.. help please’ to remind me of all that I have and to remember Jesus’ words…  “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ .. Matt 25:40 and “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.” Hebrews 13:2

another beautiful young helper that comes along to help finish out the day with cole, pulling on her hat nad gloves and pulling up her boots, because cole wants to drive his powerchair around on the ice

power wheelchairs

gabrielle’s insatiable desire to do craft projects and the way she says, ‘let’s try that!’  with such enthusiasm, over glue and yarn, again and again and again

watching dawson shovel snow side by side with his daddy dad for the hundredth time this winter.  watching him grow and grow and become strong and smart

brian… who loves me… everyday… who hugs me and kisses me and laughs with me and holds me together when I fall apart

the mixed pain and joy of hearing gabrielle say, ‘if luke was alive, there would be 3 kid boys, plus max and daddy… so 5 boys and only 2 girls’


bedtime for silly, crazy, wound-up, wiped-out kids

bath time for me

an outlet for all the ups and downs and ins and outs of this broken yet beautiful life I’m in


a holy experience

complain or be thankful…

January 30, 2010

so I’m standing in the shower when brian pokes his head in the bathroom to tell me that one of dawson’s friends is over to play and cole just got home with his aide and her daughter… in other words, there are now 7 people just outside the bathroom door.  (we have 1 bathroom that opens almost center to the whole house.)  …  I started to mumble under my breath about how nice it might be to have my own bathroom…  ahhh, just imagine… my own bathroom off of my own bedroom… it wouldn’t matter who  was in the house.

thankfully, the little angel that sits on my right shoulder quickly started telling the devil on my left what she thought about the situation.  things like, let’s be happy for the bathroom… the hot water, the scented body wash, the moisturizing shampoo and the curl enhancing conditioner, the yummy smelling face wash which gets alternated with the also yummy smelling facial exfoliant… let’s be thankful for the beautifully tiled shower and the pretty rug we’re about to step out on… how about the super fluffy towel waiting on the hand-picked towel hook right beside the super plush robe waiting on its own hand-picked hook… further more, how about the nice warm house the bathroom is in, the ability to pay the mortgage and the water bill…  on and on the little angel goes. 

do I complain or be thankful?  I choose thankful.


November 27, 2009

I am thankful for…

paid hospital bills


good friends, like the ones who are always checking on you to see how things are going

best friends, like the 3 or so that I have that I would give my very own life for

sea salt caramels

iced tea with lemons

my first photo shoot, which was of a newborn (pictured above)

the gift of hiding behind a camera and looking at someone else’s baby

this awesome new toe-ring that I got in door county

meeting my niece, for what seems like the first time


standing in an assembly line taping shoeboxes shut tight for their big trip across the ocean, for hours


kids in bed by 7:45

my dear sweet Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ to whom I owe … … … everything


November 17, 2009

a new blessing has been sent my way by the name of “F”.  let me start back at the beginning.

back on the 6th, after another hard morning with cole, I told a good friend that I was getting to the point where I didn’t like cole.  a very hard place to be. … very.  I kind of poured it all out, talking about how I had always kept mornings just to our family, how I didn’t want someone in the house at 7:00 in the morning while I’m walking around, half-dazed and braless.  I wanted to do things on my own, but was coming to realize that might not be possible much longer.

I got home and had the same conversation with another good friend… then a neighbor who happened to stop by and then again with the aids at school.  a very sad and humbling day to have to admit that I can’t take care of my kids by myself….. that I don’t even want to sometimes… and worst of all that I find myself not liking 1 of them more and more.

but… Providence had other plans. 

one of the aids in the classroom volunteered to come over and help every morning before I could even finishing explaining the whole situation.  she goes by “F”.  (easiest for the kids with special needs to say) 

right there in front of me was an answer to a prayer I hadn’t even gotten out yet.  someone kind and caring, who all ready knows cole and  loves cole, someone who is an early bird by nature, someone who lives close by, someone who won’t care if I have the clothes folded and the house picked up and most importantly someone who would enjoy  doing this.

amazing.  I’m amazed.  I’m amazed  that I am amazed.  shouldn’t I expect these kind of things by now?  shouldn’t I know God will provide?

Matthew 6:8

…for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.



my God, my mechanic…

October 6, 2009


these may sound like small things.  things of no particular consequence.  I am going to view them as little blessings in my day-to-day life.  little flakes of sweet manna that help me carry on.

first, let me tell you that I’ve been to the shop alot lately with our van.  keep in mind this is no ordinary van.  it has been outfitted to have a wheelchair drive in and out of it on a daily basis.  this makes getting around soo much easier, but adds to the list of things that can go wrong.

last week, I was reporting to brian that the van was still making that wierd sound.  a sound I knew to be coming from a wheel because it was rhythmical and disappeared the faster I went.  I also told him that when I would accelerate from a stop, all the gauges would freak out and I almost stalled.  oh, and the tires are still out of balance, even tough we just had them balanced 4 weeks ago.  ( I’m sure he loves  getting this call every morning about 9:10 while he is working)  : ) 

‘sounds like new brake pads and either a battery or an alternator problem’, he tells me.  ‘I’ll make some calls.’   of course he calls me right back and tells me to go to the parts store and have them hook it up so they can tell me what to get.  so my left hand turn turns into a very illegal 3 lane change and a right turn.

the worker guy, tim I believe, lifts up the hood to hook up the checker-thingy and says that the problem is probably just the loose connection he sees on the battery.  sure enough.  it is.  YEAH!  that was free, easy and tim didn’t treat me like a girl.  1 problem solved.  thank you God for little blessings.

now I go to goodyear so they can rebalance my tires.  the goodyear guy, I think his name is nick, tells me that their balance machine had been off so they’ll just balance them all now.  YEAH!  that was free, easy and nick didn’t treat me like a girl either.  thank you God for bits of manna.

lastly, I head to rollex, because when brian had the tires off to replace the brake pads the other day, to stop the afore mentioned rhythmical sound,  he noticed the brake line was rubbing.   becky, who never treats me like a girl, has someone look at the brake lines and discovers that they are rubbing and the van isn’t safe to drive.  she tells me to leave the van, she’ll get me a loaner and that they will cover it because it is a modification issue.  YEAH!  that was free, easy, becky is always nice to me AND I don’t have to worry about having my brakes go out when I’m off to pick up the kids later.  thank you God for keeping me safe, when I didn’t even know I was in danger. 

plus, the guy at good year said the noise was from the emergency brake and it was just because it was rusty from not being used.  he just wiggled it around a little and now, no more noise.  brian returned the brake pads.  and all is well.

if I hadn’t been complaining about the noise, brian wouldn’t have tried to replace the brake pads and he wouldn’t have noticed that the line was rubbing.  now, everything is fixed or being fixed and I don’t have to pay for any of it.  YEAH!

today I am thankful for all of these little things.  my God, my mechanic.

running on empty…

September 29, 2009

so I get a call at 7:30 this morning from a dear friend, who tries to tell me quickly that she nominated me for this ‘running on empty’ contest, and I won, and she’ll be there, and this is her favorite photographer, and how awesome this is, and we’ll learn so much, and this will be such a break and a few other things I’m forgetting.

I don’t function very well at 7:30, so it took some concentration to understand what was going on.  here I sit, on the couch, between cole, whom I am trying to feed an egg, and gabrielle, whom is on day 9 of an unexplainable fever.  I won???  I won what???  I’ve never won anything!  and now I’ve won something so awesome, so substantial.  something that I’ve always wanted to do, but couldn’t afford or find the time for.  and, my friend will be  there too?!?!  this is incredible!

of course I want to do some researching on the photographer, Me Ra Koh.  I want to talk to my friend about all of the plans for the weekend.  I want to make sure my camera is ready to go.  I have to find help for the kids while I’ll be gone … all weekend. : ) all of these exciting things. 

 but… … the reality of the day was a little different.  I spent most of the time on the phone with a variety of doctors and clinics.  brian with his hernia and punkin with her fever.  it looks like bri will be waiting a bit to see of he can heal on his own and gabrielle will be heading downtown tomorrow to have an echo done on her heart to make sure she doesn’t have kawasaki disease. ???  what the heck is that?

over and above all of this though is the one thing that means the most.  the part I am left speechless about.  and that would be that someone was thinking of me.  someone thought I should be nominated.  someone took time from their live and used it for my benefit. … … …  how have I been blessed with such great friends?  could they be any better? 

I did talk with a few close friends today.  one that nominated me.  one that seconded that motion.  one that will come and help with the kids while I’m out. one that wants to bring dinner over for my family while I am gone.  one that wondered if there was anything she could do.  one that wanted to know about the health of my husband and child.  one that brought supper over tonight. oh, and did I mention my closest friend?  my lover?  whose first response was, ‘well.  I’ll just schedule my surgery for next week.’.  really.  that’s what he said.  and he meant it.  and he was happy for me.

here I sit.  soaking in the love…….  feeling very blessed……  I never would have guessed I would win something by running on empty. 

first day of school '09 044

thank you.  thank you.  thank you.


to see the nomination and the photographers’ blog go to 


July 26, 2009


tonight, gabrielle was having an absolute breakdown about our house catching on fire.  I mean crying and upset,just irrational.  (I’m guessing because she is overtired.) 

‘how will I get out?’ … ‘what if I get burned?’ … ‘what about my brown bear?’ … ‘where would we live?’ … ‘we won’t have any food, because all of your money will burn in the house!’ …  ‘I don’t want to have to drive to see my friends if we have to live in a hotel.’ … ‘I’m just so scared, and nervous, and worried!’ …

brian and I kept trying to reassure her.  to calm her.  I couldn’t figure out why she wouldn’t just believe me when I said, ‘it will be okay.’  ‘we will take care of you.’  ‘these material possessions are all replaceable.’  I even told her simple verses we know about being afraid. 

When I am afraid, I will trust in you.   Psalm 56:3

Be still and know that I am God.   Psalm 46:10

When you lie down, you will not be afraid.  When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.   Proverbs 3:24

I said a prayer with her through sobs and tears and held her close.  at this point, I really just wanted her to go to bed… I still had plenty to do around the house and it was 10:00!  I’m still thinking to myself, ‘she should just believe me. I know more than her.  she is being irrational about something that she really doesn’t even understand!’

… … … … … …

wait … … …  … … this could very easily be the conversation that God is having with himself about me as I finally get to bed at night, overtired, worried, nervous, scared. 

 ‘how will we pay all these medical bills?!?’ … ‘when am I going to get anything done before bible study meets at my house?’ … ‘maybe I should be homeschooling the kids this year’ … ‘what did she mean when she said that?’ … ‘why didn’t anyone ask how I was doing?’ … ‘I really need to do better at planning healthy meals.’ … ‘I really need to do better at brushing my own teeth for goodness sakes!!!’

this is where I changed my attitude.  I layed down by her, I realized I had nothing better to do at that particular moment then just comfort her.  I tried to change the subject, we talked about new school supplies like gluesticks, markers and little pink erasers.  I sang a couple songs with her.  (she picked ‘mighty to save’ bless her little heart.)  she calmed down, snuggled up and said I love you mama.

tonight I am thankful for a God that is all-knowing, comforting, compassionate, calming and ever loving little me through all my fears and frustrations.

a year ago…

July 3, 2009

a year ago I found out I was pregnant.  I got to give brian the best anniversary present ever … I told him he was going to be a daddy again, just what he always wanted.

 this year, there is a beautiful, sweet smelling, yellow rose bush in our front yard to remember that baby.  not exactly the way we planned things to go…  and yet our life together goes on.  thankfully, our life goes on well.  there are hard days and tough situations but we make it through.

as we celebrate 13 years of being happily married, I have to stand back and take it all in.  I am amazed that we have made it this far and that we have done so well considering all that has been entrusted to us.  this solidifies for me that there has to be a god … and a great god at that.  only He could get us through things we vowed we would run from.  only He could hold us together as we let our baby boy go.  only He could have known.  only He knows all that is to come and what we will have to look back on in the year to come.    

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  

Jeremiah 29:11

                                                                                                   july '09 021

pic_prescriptions[1]as I stand in front of a cupboard full of prescriptions, a well stocked cupboard I might add, with a debilitating headache, I wonder which one will take it away…. which one would take it all away.  all the hurt, all the pain, all the wonder, all the fear, all the confusion, all the guilt…

I’d like to think there is a magic pill that could do that.  a magic place to go where it doesn’t matter any more … where all of life’s troubles melt away.  but I know better.  I know there is no such place, no such pill, no such drink, no such new shoes.  all these things may help for a brief time, but it will come back.  there is no permanent fix.

knowing all of this, makes me very grateful that I do have something steady to rely on.  someone that is the same today, as yesterday, as tomorrow.  someone that eases the hurts of this world and holds out the promise of no more hurts when I finally cross over jordan.  oh, how I love Him… the One who takes it all away.

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.

Revelation 21:4

arboretum may '09 006

today is wednesday, which all ready puts me a bit on high alert, and I have bible study, which means, there are lots of women around me that know about luke.

I arrived at bible study in a pretty good mood.  I even wore some of my favorite red heels.  I ran into my leader in the bathroom, we exchanged a personal joke about ‘bacon’ and I went to my seat.  I sat by another friend who asked how I was … like how are you really … I said I was okay.  we talked about church abit and then we started singing one of my favorite hymns, ‘May the Mind of Christ my Savior’.  my leader slipped into the seat next to me as we were singing.  (I love to sit by her because she sings alto and she sings well.)  the next song was #350, I wasn’t sure which one that was, but I had a sinking feeling. … … … and there it was … … … ‘Tis so Sweet to Trust in Jesus’ … … … this is one of the songs from luke’s funeral.  I thought I would make it through, but I was wrong.  not but a few lines in and I lost it … no really … like sobbing … like hard to catch your breath … I turned and clung on to my leader.  I had to.  thankfully she just held on to me.  I cried all over her neck, her shirt … she had to have felt the tears on her neck (probably hoping it wasn’t snot), but she didn’t flinch or pull away.  she just held on to me until I could pull it together … which wasn’t until the song was over.  there are 4 verses.

I was able to get my feet back under myself for the rest of the day, a bit of a headache hanging around, but not to bad.  the recovery time is getting  shorter. 

it makes a big difference to have someone just hold you up when you need held, or someone who will listen when you need to say a few things, or just go out and act ‘normal’ with you because you’d rather just forget the real situation.  so, I just want to suggest that if you are in the position to be a shoulder to lean on or to be an ear to listen … you should do it wholeheartedly because … ’tis so sweet to have a good friend’.

all my love to you julie~


April 15, 2009

I’m using Easter as my kick off of change.  Not so much change as a better awareness of what I have.  Stopping and actually saying thank you for the gifts I have recieved.

I’m thankful for having my computer up and running, for actually finishing my BSF lesson this week, for warm weather and the whole feeling of rebirth that spring provides.  I’m thankful for a passionate love between Brian and I, that we can cling to each other through all things and that our marriage is the rock and foundation of this little family we’ve been blessed with.  I’m thankful for the conversation overheard at a child’s birthday party that went something like… ‘no, he didn’t die on thursday.  he died on friday.  and… easter is not all about the candy!’  What a blessing to have small children with such a knowledge and love of Jesus at such a tender age.

Mostly, I am thankful today for the fact that it is Wednesday and I don’t know how many weeks it has been since Luke died…. this is huge to me.  Even though I am well aware that it is Wednesday, and all the pain of what happened on this day, the number of weeks has left me.  This greatly encourages me.  One day I hope to have Wednesday go by without knowing and reliving the events and timeline of that one Wednesday.