peculiar beauty

As usual, our summer has had plenty of visitors and traveling already! A few weeks ago, Aaron’s parents visited and did amazing things like keeping my dog exercised, fixing our lawn mower, and painting trim while I napped. The following week I visited my parents, which required successfully transporting my 8-months-pregnant self and a 7-month-old dog on a 10-hour solo road trip through the midwest without losing my mind. I have been missing the ease of certain things about life in Iowa, but I must say that driving across Wisconsin is so lovely that it’s almost worth the extra time in the car compared to driving across Iowa and Illinois.

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Successful completion of this trip is due in no small part to indulging in a few of the 49 cent ice cream cones at McDonald’s.

After arriving in my hometown, a friend from high school asked if it was weird or hard for me that my sister is expecting a baby without facing any of the heartaches I battled. I can honestly say it noticeably affects how we handle certain aspects of our pregnancies, but I’m mostly glad not everyone has to suffer in the ways I did. We celebrated my daughter’s impending arrival, so I opened presents for her and spent time laughing with my extended family, full of hopes for the two girl cousins growing up having as much fun as my sisters and I have with our girl cousins.

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praising God for all five girls in this picture!

Other parts of the weekend were more sober. I stayed a little longer than I originally intended because my grandparents were both rapidly declining into very poor health, so I was able to spend extra time with them and help my mom, who bears most of the heaviness of their care right now.  Is there something ironic about uncomfortably leaning over a giant belly to wash a sink of dishes for the chemo patient you’re naming your baby after? And having inspiration about what foods might work for her to eat because you’ve also recently experienced more nausea than you ever imagined possible? I thought so. It was certainly a week of peculiar beauty.

This is exactly what I meant when I said that most of life bears witness to the old funeral text: In the midst of life, we are in death. There is tension, there is heartache, there is so much joy and so much awareness that everything’s a little askew. Because I want my baby to know personally how sweet my Grandma is and how special it is that we have this same middle name that keeps passing down for all the girls, and I don’t know if that will happen. I would have loved if we hadn’t lost the babies before her so she would “just” have hand-me-downs from older siblings instead of fancy new duds from a big baby shower. It’s not a sign of discontent to acknowledge that things are messed up and you wish it could be different.

But at the same time, I am so thankful that anything that ever holds together is evidence of grace. We see so much of it right now.

max in lake michigan

little max in lake michigan at sunset.


A contented heart looks to and … sees the wisdom of God in everything. In his submission, he sees His sovereignty; but what makes him take pleasure in God’s wisdom? It is this: the Lord knows how to order things better than I. I only see things at present, but the Lord sees a great while from now. …I know that the love of God may as well stand with an afflicted condition as with a prosperous condition.”
-Burroughs, Jeremiah. The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment (Available for free on Kindle!)

Starting Summer 2013

Happy Summer!

I had an action packed spring! In the last six weeks, I visited friends in Kansas City, finished teaching 6 homeschool classes, wrapped up the last weeks of an intense Bible study program, visited family in St. Louis, began the laborious task of establishing a Summer Break calendar for music classes (this is far more time consuming than just teaching), and presented most of my 30 piano students in recitals. These were not the sort of milestones that gave me the “high” of accomplishment; it was more a wave of weary relief and a few days of catching up on sleep before the next Big Thing began. 


{a typical week out of 30… whew…}

I knew this year was going to require a lot from me. It’s been a season of personally investing, building relationships, growing, persevering, establishing boundaries, and receiving lots of good gifts. After two semesters full of good stretching in every aspect of my life with breaks that weren’t really breaks, I feel a little bit like a dry sponge that is finally soaking up some water again. I’m still teaching piano a few days a week, but not so much that it doesn’t feel like a summer break. Between insanely comfortable weather and one less big tree in our yard, we’ve kept the windows open for a month and enjoyed many hours working on the yard, making up for a long winter by absorbing lots of fresh air and sunshine (when available).

There is no shortage of things to work on this summer. House projects, money projects, upcoming wedding projects (three in our immediate family before September!), writing projects, and several trips will make for an action packed season. We have lots of “irons in the fire” around the house that are close to finishing, and many new things to enjoy too. I remember the days of boring-job-and-no-summer-break very well; I’m so thankful for the gift of a relaxed schedule and I’m really excited about everything coming up soon!


{a friend’s girls stopped by to roll down our hill. wheee! this is what summer feels like right now.}