stamina and poignancy and the strength to hang on…

I am reminded as I journey this road of grief, that each of us holds our own pain. To live life honestly is to acknowledge that our hearts hold many emotions, but I do believe that life is painful in varying degrees….

My sister shared this quote today and I find myself reflecting on it throughout the day. I often have sought clarity and resolution and found myself frustrated and despairing, for I am not sure that I can find the resolution to the indigestible ~ to the question of why my brother died at 48 or how to embrace that my sister-in-law now parents four wonderful children alone….

And so I share this quote with you and trust it will speak to more than just me….

“It’s almost indigestible: death, divorce, old age, drugs; brain-damaged children, violence, senility, unfaithfulness. Good luck with figuring it out. It unfolds, and you experience it, and it is so horrible and endless that you could almost give up a dozen times. But grace can be the experience of a second wind, when even though what you want is clarity and resolution, what you get is stamina and poignancy and the strength to hang on.” ~Anne Lamott, “Help Thanks Wow”

And so, my prayer for each of us is that in the indigestible we will find grace and remain thankful for the stamina, poignancy and strength to hang on….

Journey on my friends, journey on…..

Let your heart be like the sea….

Let your heart be like the sea, ever open, brave and free! IMG_2922

I am a person who loves words and loves heart….

I long to live with a heart that is ever open, brave and free….

As I think back to the days before Len’s funeral, one of my favorite things we did was gathered Logan_18pictures. Pictures that reminded us of  each phase of Len’s life. Pictures from when he was little to pictures of him with his own little ones…

family_02bPictures that spoke of his passion, his adventure, his commitments and his love….

But one picture I have always liked and speaks to Len’s spirit is the picture of him driving the submarine. I am sure he would correct my language in that I am not sure one “drives” a sub, but Len spent many many months of his life on a submarine…


And so as I think of another picture where Len is standing watch and all that surrounds him is the sea….

Len was a big thinker and I believe that he longed to live ever open, brave and free….

And so tonight, I am considering what does it look like for my (or your) heart to be like the sea….ever open, brave and free?

In these last weeks I am reminded that not everyone will grow to be old, so, live today the way you desire to live and be remembered….

Live ever open brave and free in your thoughts, beliefs and actions!

Blurry Vision

Vision Of Eyechart With GlassesI got a new pair of glasses today….

I knew I needed them and finally grew weary of blurry vision….

I will say I was a bit surprised today when I put on my new glasses and things were blurry in a new way…


I had hoped that having new glasses would give me crystal clear vision….

I am now aware that it will take some time for my eye’s to learn how to maximize this new view….

I am experiencing that my eyes get tired quickly as they look through these new lenses…

I am reminded that Len’s death has recently clouded the vision of my heart…

I am now aware that it will take some time for my heart to learn about this new view….

I am experiencing that my heart get tired quickly as I live through this grief lens….

I am learning that my heart and my eyes need time to adjust….

I believe that I will have crystal clear vision in my eyes and my heart someday again, but it will never quite be like it used to and I am learning to trust God with that!




Hard to believe just yesterday I was in the Dominican.

I can still smell the smells and feel the dust that attached to a warm and sweaty body on the work site.

DR beautyI can still feel the tension in my heart when there is amazing beauty surrounded by such poverty….

I can see the faces and hear the laughter and the conversation that surrounded me in a language I could not understand.kerlina


And yet this morning I woke up in a beautiful home which provides me amazing comforts: water pressure, drinking water, a warm shower, instant oatmeal, praise music on Pandora and so much more….

I am keenly aware how my heart holds the mystery of life as i reenter into a daily routine…

A routine which brings some comfort but also brings some fear

Fear that in my routine i will lose the keen awareness I feel in my being in these days.

Awareness of a deep ache, an overwhelming sorrow that ebbs and flows, a deep love for family in a greater way, an abundant admiration for people who live with so very little and worship with their whole being….

I am reminded again that the joy and the sorrow that my heart holds is held in the hearts of people close to home and far away….

I am thankful for a God who understands and holds my heart (and yours) with kindness and compassion….

Life is different here….

The internet stability has not allowed for much blogging from the Dominican Republic and I have missed writing. I am eager to get back to daily blogging and reflecting on God’s presence in my day-to-day world….

Life is different here….

Len is still close to my heart and Marcia and the kids are never far from my thoughts. I miss calling and checking in with them and the rest of my family, hearing about the kids and their games, and sharing in the day-to-day of how life unfolds….

But the sun shines strong here with a warmth that feels glorious….

The people are gracious here and because I can not speak the language, communication is in hugs, touch and the connecting of our eyes and hearts….

Music is sung here with great zest and passion and worship is evident in so much of what surrounds us….

Sorrow is communicated here as my Mom shared a moment with Daisy who had lost her son and tears connected two very tender hearts…

Churches are built here by ordinary people (and some brilliant team members) who are willing to pound nails, carry bricks block and climb homemade scaffolding….

Children love to play here and the internet and computers do not rob them of their time. A Frisbee. a jump rope or stones to juggle bring much joy….

Water and electricity and food are not as guaranteed….

Life is different here….

Life is sweet here…

Life holds many stories here…

Life is complicated in different ways here….

Life brings smiles, laughter, sorrow, tears and wailing here as well….

Life is different in some ways and oddly similar in others….

Life has been full this past week and it is time to come home to live my life with the many I love….

Pray with us for traveling mercies tomorrow, by car and plane. May our tires stay inflated (flat tire on our bus on the way here) and may each member of our team delight in being home tomorrow as we leave our friends here in the DR in the hands of our loving and gracious God who will provide for all of our needs…both in this beautiful land and at home!


Child like thinking….

I am writing from the Dominican….

I am on a mission trip….

I have many thoughts as I meet new people, experience a new culture, spend time with a team and build a church…

But today I am thinking about my childlike thought that exposed to me the longing of my heart….

I have flown often….

I am usually asleep before I hit the clouds….

But on this trip we got above the clouds and the sun was coming up and I was surprised how I couldn’t stop thinking about heaven….

After all, it is above the clouds, right?

And the beauty of the clouds, the sun, the breaking of the dawn and I felt my mind wondering and hoping….

But I know better and I settled into realize that my child like thought was exposing a current longing of my heart….

To catch a glimpse of Len in heaven….

I didn’t sleep on this flight but I did wonder and pray…..

And we landed in the DR with a confidence in my heart that so much of what I will experience in the coming week would be what Len would love. The water, the sun, the people, the music, the children, the food, the games, the worship…

I will write about my experiences here in my next blog, which I will write as electricity and internet access allow….

The gift of time….

I have thought often in the last few weeks of the gift of time….

People have said that it is so difficult to lose someone without warning because there was no time to say good-bye….

I agree that it is very difficult to lose someone without warning…

I am not sure that I ever want to compare what is harder….

I just know that this has been very hard…


We did receive an unexpected gift in all the tragedy and sorrow….and that was the gift of time!

We began to gather the night of the accident (December 23) and said our sad good byes to each other after Len’s funeral on December 31….

We realize that because Len’s accident and funeral all happened over Christmas, we were blessed with the gift of time to be together…

We were all easily off from work due to the holiday….

The kids were able to be together the entire time which was an amazing comfort to each of them….

Because of the holiday, everything was slowed down, from the autopsy to the visitation to the funeral….and we were given the gift of time….

Time to be together, to weep, to wail, to laugh, to remember, to share stories, to hug and to hold, to plan and prepare, to talk about very difficult things and to be silent together…

I encourage you to find places where you are offered the gift of time…

time with those you love, time to think, time to rest, time to play, time to yourself. Time comes in many different ways….

We have not yet celebrated Christmas….we will in time….

Our gifts remain unopened but I know the gift I am most thankful for in this unforgettable, very difficult Christmas….The Gift of Time!

the gift of time



You do good work….

These are the words my brother Len spoke often to his wife….

These are the words that she recalled as we spent time together the week after he died…

These are the words that bring a smile to her face, a tear to her eyes and peace to her heart….

Life was full and busy for Len and Marcia with four kids….

Marcia spent many hours volunteering at school, running kids or coordinating community events…..

Len loved and valued her energy for their family, their kids and their community….

And so his words, YOU DO GOOD WORK, were words of blessing, affirmation, appreciation and gratitude….

Tonight I watched my sister-in-law, a widow of just over three weeks, care for her 14-year-old son in the hospital. She kept a smile on his face as he deals with not being able to communicate due to strep, mono, double ear infection, tonsillectomy and adenoids that are pressing on his sinuses. She hasn’t left the hospital since Sunday….

I noticed againIMG_1866

her strength, her tenderness, her stamina, her determination, her resolve, her sorrow, her compassion. her love, her beauty….

And so tonight Marcia, I reminded you as I hugged you good-bye, you do good work. I believe it in all of my being. In the days ahead when life feels hard, hear Len’s words and hold them dear to your heart.  Love you so much!

PS. If you know someone who does good work, don’t forget to bless them with words that communicate to them that you notice. May we all be generous in our words of kindness to those who surround us!



Life goes on….

Those words feel like a harsh reality….

Those words feel like they also offer hope….
life goes on

In some ways, it is good to do somethings and to live the routine after three weeks….

It is hard to reenter every day life when your heart has been shattered by sudden loss….

We all get up and go about each day with some sense of normalcy and yet we carry a blanket of sorrow in our hearts….

Sorrow isn’t always our primary emotion, but it feels ever-present in some fashion….

Life goes on, if we like it or not….

Before Len died, my Mom and I were scheduled to go on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic…

The night of Len’s accident I concluded that I could not go…

Three weeks later I have changed my mind…..because life goes on….

We are building a church for the Haitians who live in the DR and that fits with our love of the Haitian people….

We are going with a team of people who are kind and understanding, which means I can go and be just who I am….

We are doing physical labor,  brick carrying and nail pounding, and that sounds very therapeutic….

We are going with broken hearts and fully believe that God knew we would be right here, so we go trusting Him fully….

Len loved an adventure, a good time, a challenge, a cause and a purpose…..and that is just what the DR holds….

And so in honor of my brother’s 48 years….to the DR we will go….because life goes on.




Three weeks ago….

clockI find myself watching the clock on Sunday nights….

I remember what time I was opening gifts with Suzi and Andy and the kids…

I remember the fun of the giving and the receiving of the gifts and we were just cleaning up….

I remember what time we got the phone call…

I remember the chaos in my mind…

I remember the hugs in the hallway….

I remember what time we left for Detroit….

I remember the first words and the intensity of the emotion….

Life changed in a moment and we feel the impact of that for many years to come….

But tonight’s blog is not all about what I remember from that evening which feels burned in my memory….

you are invited

It is an invitation to live at peace with those you love…

It is an invitation to live at peace with yourself….

It is an  invitation to say the “I am sorry”, “I love you”, “Thank You”, or “you are important to me” every time it needs to be said….

It is an invitation to live life fully, loving God, others and yourself with purpose and intention……

We are painfully aware of how quickly life ended for someone so dear to us. We are embracing this invitation in a new way!

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