I feel like I haven’t been very present on here this winter…  I have had my hands tied – literally!

I have two little girl scouts and we went to an ice skating event.   Now just to set the record – I am a decent/really good skater.  I am stunned that I  fell to begin with and heaping on my bruised pride, broke a bone.  How humbling to  “fail” at something you are good at.   Normally I would rest at home and heal but I had previously committed to a long term substitute teaching assignment for 12 weeks, and a baby was coming.  I remember thinking “Great, I knew I could teach, but now I have to do it with one arm behind my back.”

That first week my husband also left for Chicago for the week, and it snowed everyday…  were talking bitter cold -20, foot of snow on the ground.  Now someone said to me “I hope you broke it in the least possible way,”  which I truly believe was the case.

I haven’t been able to do any of my normal activities, swimming, skiing, cooking, pottery, but I can still teach!  I am thankful for an activity that keeps me from going stir crazy and uses my gifts. The kids have been super great at school and it helps me emphasize with a number of them that are “broken” as well.  It has been a huge blessing to see friends come forward to help in the smallest of ways – although coming over at 7AM to braid my girls hair for school  is a BIG deal!

( The photo above is the x-ray my daughter made for me). I  am in complete awe of how quickly the body heals.  It has now been about 5 weeks, and I have resumed using my arm.  It is not 100% back but it is so close.



two tangles



I have been working on some zentangles.

A zentangle is a miniature abstract work of art.  It is created from a collection of patterns not meant to represent anything.  I think everything is supposed to represent something, unless someone is upset with me, in-which I reserve the right to say I didn’t mean anything…  They are designed to be made into tiles, each is a surprise that unfolds before the creator’s eyes, one stroke at a time.  The process teaches us to be comfortable letting our instincts be in control, so it does not matter what you add next.

So, I kind of took the “zen” out of it drawing recognizable images.  But this is what my first two looked like…  The one on the left is representative of my haunted shower.

And the right I was reading Matthew 13, can you spot all the parables about “The kingdom of Heaven?”  The sower, the weeds, the mustard seed, the yeast, the hidden treasure, the pearl, the net of fish and the owner of the house.

for the birds


One thing about our new house is we live in the trees.  I put up three feeders for the birds.  They have picked out all the seed and basically only the corn remains,  it took only a few days.    I am in love with watching them.  I left my camera on the table and a few hours later there were 200 pictures, between the four of us.   Woodpeckers, cardinals and bossy blue jays.  I still can’t figure out what the brown one is below.   I totally get it now, people and their obsessions with feeders, it is so calming, they are the best.  I expect to see them flying into my artwork…

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raising strong girls and the tooth fairy


My daughter, age 7,  lost a tooth this week.  We are not particularly organized nor faithful about the “tooth fairy.”  Yet she is particularly motivated to earn money to buy her own mini ipad… So she promptly washed her tooth off, put it in a baggie and wrote a note.  “Can I have $20, please.”

I chuckled, “You think that the tooth fairy is going to give you twenty dollars… for a little tooth… that you have barely been faithful about brushing…”  I kind of couldn’t believe her note, although the “please” was nice.

How bold and courageous a child’ s request can be.  I was quick to dismiss her demand but then took pause, who am I to squelch the dreams of a child.  While it is not my responsibility to give her everything she wants or asks for,  it is my joy to give her what she needs.  It is also my intention to train her to be a strong young girl, who is full of faith and serves a BIG God.  It is HE who gives us good gifts, not to pacify our selfish desires but to benefit others and advance kingdom work.  It is also He who encourages us to ask in HIS name.

Somewhere between childhood and adulthood we lose our courage, we have heard “NO”  so many times that we don’t bother to ask anymore, dream anymore, or pray BIG anymore.   We learn to be content with the broken way of life, making God small,  living half of what he has planned.

I want to teach her that we serve a BIG God, who does BIG things, who makes a BIG difference.   If I truly believe that, do I live it?   Have I lost the courage to ask for BIG things from God?  Do I ask for only what seems reasonable, or safe or do I  trust the sovereign God to meet our needs and be our provider.

So if you are wondering, no she didn’t receive $20, and she was quite disappointed, but we ended up having a great conversation and a brainstorming session on how to earn some extra cash.  For my not particularly clean child, this could be a win win.


operating on a 3G network; grace, gratitude & generosity


2013 has been a year of gravitating to “G” words.  It happened slowly over the seasons starting  with Grace this spring as I prayed over a theme for the spring women’s retreat and a resonating phrase in a song,  “soaked in grace.”

I picked up Gratitude this summer, as we watched many friends and family sending their kids to camp, resulting in life impacting experiences.  It is so awesome to work and live in such a place where people travel to “get away from life”, “draw closer” and “be in nature”.

I pondered Generosity this fall,  what does that look like in response to time, money, giving of talents.  Surely others have extended generosity to us, what are we called to share and give during this season.

As families are often complicated I have been very thankful for a sister on each side, who have continually helped me focus on Christ and dive deep in prayer before family get-togethers.   Durning a conversation with my SIL,  I was sharing my 3 words which she quickly dubbed  my 3G network… clever lady… and how can I upgrade to the next platform?

After holiday parties and birthdays, I have been dwelling on Gathering.  Truly this is a word to reflect on, and a challenge for me to open my home and heart to others.

4G Network

gift day

gift day

Christmas day was a gift. After traveling for 11 years, we stayed home with the kids. I am so thankful for traditions and family, sometimes life just begs for new ones. Snowshoeing on Christmas day, indoor nerf wars and a superb meal were all in the itinerary. It was just the slow, reflective, savor kind of day we were dreaming of.

a tradition old, a tradition new


I grew up in a very musical family outside of Detroit.  My grandmother in particular loved singing, some of my earliest memories of Christmas were at her annual Christmas sing-a-long .  Children helped shuttle coats to the master bedroom and the kitchen was full of food & cookies.  In addition to singing, instruments were brought in; bass, french horn, clarinets, and her piano that we weren’t allowed to touch without washing our hands.  People packed in, family & friends.  It was such a delightful way to gather and celebrate, it defiantly had a touch of cheer and magic.  I loved it and I loved her.  Even before she passed we began celebrating the party at my uncle’s house, to this day the tradition lives on even though the crowd has changed over the years. We still end on the twelve days of Christmas and five golden rings is the coveted assignment.  DSC_0083

We live just far enough away that we rarely get to attend the Griffin party.  So this year I decided to gather up my pockets of people and host my own gathering for Christmas caroling.  Just moving (yes that is where I was this fall) I really needed a goal to put our home in some sort of living order.  The cabinet doors had been put on just the day before and I still don’t know where half my cooking utensils are.  Our new house has a long history of families hosting parties and cherished memories, it’s a bit of a sacred space in many hearts.  It was a bit daunting inviting others into an unfinished space with such a story.  But opening your home is much less about presenting the perfect as it is making room for people to come together, enjoying each others presence and making new memories.    I have spent far too many afternoons alone painting walls, ceilings, cabinets, unpacking boxes, scrubbing, dusting giant cobwebs…  The rug full of shoes by the front doorway, fire roaring in the hearth and a kitchen and rooms crowded with people felt just about perfect.


We had at least 5 inches of snow that day, so I am thankful as many were able to make it.  In end my heart was overjoyed with the cajon drum and children shaking jingle bells.  We sang till we were silly and laughed at the awkward moments where you see an unfamiliar verse to a carol and completely forget how it fits to the tune.  It was an affair we would be lucky to repeat,  an evening to honor Grandma May and the house tucked in the woods.

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snow white

snow white

I have been captivated by this little fellow this week. He came for a pinecone smothered in peanut butter and birdseed. How simple of a gift to offer nature, made by a child, but brings the kid out in us.

swaying pines


It has been a long gloomy season around here, gray skies, with continual snow or rain.  Yesterday was sunny and I paused.  Just warm enough to get out with only a fleece and vest, camera in hand.


I prayed a circle around our yard and captured natures red, skies blue, listened to the tall pines clap together as they swayed in the wind.  I looked for the blue jay that has been hiding in the large lilac but all I saw were a few nests.


I needed yesterday  to recharge and remind me of life beyond walls.


artprize civilization

chalk 13

A few years ago, my children’s school cut the art program.  Technically they moved the teacher into a classroom and never hired someone new for the position.  While I grieve that decision for our community, I am pushed towards action for my children.  Two weekends ago we drove the hour between our home and Grand Rapids to take our children on our annual pilgrimage to see Art Prize.  On the way down we listened to a magic tree house episode Vikings at Sunrise,  the story transports the two kids back to the dark ages and time of the vikings.  Jack the young boy defines “civilization” as, ” when people have books and art and good manners.”

Here is some of what we experienced in our three-hour visit…  children busking.  Multiple street musicians.  Performance artists.  Jugglers.  Hundreds of pieces of art.  Sculptures made from recycled materials.  Sculptures made from nature.  Works in progress. “Mom, why are those people talking with their hands?” Compassion.  Knitted objects.  Murals the size of buildings.  Scale.  “Why are there so many dark-skinned people here.”  Diversity.  Art in the streets, taking over squares.  Art in museums, galleries, parking lots and alleys.  People.  Crowded sidewalks and bridges.  People interacting with art.  My children interacting with art.  Life engaged.

At the end of the day, it is not the government’s job to provide opportunities and the schools job solely to be teachers, It is ours, the parents, the people, the church, the community.  We make the opportunities, we write the books, we teach the lessons, we display the manners.  We don’t need more titles to give, help or teach, we need to make the drive a priority.  I am learning to be an intentional parent, about exposure, creating opportunities, teaching and correcting.  In essence I am learning the art of engagement.

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