Archive for the ‘Faith and Hope’ Category

Seasons Come Seasons Go

Monday, May 28th, 2018

Here’s my house, at least the front steps into it, and the big front window where I take pictures of the sunset through, capture images of the weather when it’s too windy or rainy to stand outdoors–or even just to grab a quick picture of the kids playing basketball without their noticing. Often when I look through these windows I remember how small the children were when we brought them here. Deeder was a toddler, and Carly was so young that she stood for the very first time in the front room just beyond those windows. Koen and AJ came home to this house directly from the hospital after their births in 2009 and 2012. It was Valentines day that we spent our first night here with nothing but sleeping bags and pillows in the living room and used an ice chest as our breakfast table that first morning.

Now of course the kids are older. Still young enough to enjoy playing in the snow that builds up around the house in winter and help me break down the soil in Spring for a fresh garden. For today’s writing I’d like to show my pictures of the last week of snow, and two weeks in for my small back yard garden.

Darren bought these hedge bushes maybe five years ago. They’re perfect. There are 41 in total, expected to reach 4ft which is close to where they are. The goal is to bring privacy to the yard and give it more of a rustic feel. In Autumn the foliage turns a flaming red if the summer has been the right balance of dry spells to rainy. by late October the leaves blow away revealing small berries which are enjoyed by the finches and chickadee that come to our world with the cooler months.


Snow man to winter squash. This is the end and beginning of my yards winter transformation. It is the winter’s last snowman, and the young garden of 2018. The snowman melted within a day of the photo being taken, all that was left of him was two soggy mittens and a soaked hat which are now washed and folded in anticipation of next year’s replacement as I’m sure there will be another snowman occupying my back yard in only a matter of months. I planted three varieties of winter squash this year, celery, a pepper plant, and three stalks of corn. It isn’t much to look at yet, but each plant has at least doubled in size since I planted them. The pepper plant has two blossoms on it already which thrills Koen since he was the one to pick it out. Squash is what always grows best for me. Of everything celery has the lowest survival rate since the cats love to eat it, the sun loves to burn it, and then of course is the present threat of bugs enjoying the soft greenery of it’s delicate leaves.

I am thinking of adding a tomato plant yet. I could since we’re still in planting season. I think there’s room across from the pepper plant. I always have a tomato plant and name it Thomas. I’m sort of missing him, which is foolishness and I really believe I may find myself at the garden store this afternoon finding my perfect Thomas for 2018.

Besides having children and plants in my yard, a constant fixture is the animals. Presently we have one dog, two cats, and two rabbits. Indoors we have one hamster, Oreo, and the dog and cats whenever they please to come inside. The rabbits however live outdoors in their hutch unless in the instance of really cold weather.

Waldo is my oldest rabbit. We brought him home as a young buck when Carly was still a baby, which means he’s 10 years old at least. We can tell he’s slowing down significantly, even looking smaller than his usual 17lb body that he’s been rocking for numerous years now. “You know, he’ll probably die this summer” are Darren’s words of caution to me as he sees me in the back yard dutifully watering the rabbits yard and providing them with all their favorite treats. I know my husband’s right. It’s been true since the age 8 which is the full life expectancy of rabbits. My other rabbit’s name is Jezebel. She’s 6 years old and so tame that my kids bring her indoors, even taking her to bed with them on occasion.

The other picture I’m posting today of a pet is our sweet Norman. She’s the youngest of our two cats, born on Father’s Day 2014. Norman has picked a favorite of my kids very carefully as the others hold her too tightly, that child remains unnamed under the presupposition that my descendants may read this! She’s wary of Darren and I as if she feels she’ll be reproved for something, such as clawing the furniture or jumping on the table. She’s shy, always worried about bodily harm coming upon her from the children. One of her top favorite activity is lounging about, either in the house or out, in any sunbeam she can find. Another favorite past time, enjoyed year round, is watching birds flit about outside either through the window or invading her backyard. She imagines herself as a proud and brave hunter stalking her prey which is far from her reality as the birds spy her and fly away before she can reach them.

The bible talks a lot about seasons throughout all parts of scripture. It’s quite a romantic notion I’ve always thought. God gives prosperity to his people, “for a season” and persecution for a season. He sends famine and times of plenty. In fact, across all faiths cultures and creeds we hear the story of perfection of humanity falling by the single bite of a bite of a particular forbidden fruit. In Biblical tradition there is the belief that as part of the consequence of this fall was the introduction of harsh weather that limit the season of growth of our agricultural crops. It was sin that introduced invasive plant species which constantly threaten the ability for our needed crops to thrive.

One time when Jesus was mad he took the time to curse an olive tree that was nearby. The prophet Jonah wanted God to take his life when an olive tree that he was taking refuge from the sun withered. It was an olive branch that the dove brought back to the ark as a sign to Noah that it was time to let the people and animals off the Ark. The scripture I wanted to use today links up with my writing from yesterday.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;”

Ecclesiastes is a bit of a depressing book, but I like it. It’s one of those bleak doom and gloom pieces of scripture. I’ve always felt there’s a bit of irony in the fact that Solomon wrote this book since God gifted him with wisdom. Perhaps knowing so much could be pretty depressing, but with that long life and riches he also had one could think he had a pretty comfortable life. Maybe comfort can’t be assumed equal happiness? Maybe a measure of truth to ignorance is bliss.

At any rate, I plan to be here for a very long time. Taking the same photos, watching the kids grow, and the seasons pass and come again. It’s a blessed life, and I’m happy to be here to see it make the rounds that it does.

On Death and Dying

Sunday, May 27th, 2018

Ecclesiastes 2:16 “For there is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool for ever; seeing that which now is in the days to come shall all be forgotten. And how dieth the wise man? as the fool.

One of my significant fears used to be that I’d struggle so hard to be a good person and even exceed what anyone thought possible of me only to be forgotten. However a switch has fully clicked in my mind that entirely takes the focus away from myself.

Indeed, my goal is to leave the mark here on earth after my death of having children who are serving a purpose glorifying to God. I want them to wake in the morning and lay to rest at night with a heavenly perspective and desire to lead others to follow Jesus Christ. I want my husband to move on and find even more happiness than what I’ve given him. I want him to smile, remember me no more and live and cherish someone after me.

There is a graveyard almost directly across the street from the chapel where Darren and I were married. I’d like to be buried there, removed enough from society that after awhile no one will remember to visit me. Not because I didn’t matter, but because I’ve instilled in them a confidence and zeal to serve in the capacity given them for a reason bigger than themselves.

James 1:17 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

When we stand with Jesus and live our days knowing he has forgiven us of our sins, there is no doubt or burden. In religious circles there is a name for this understanding of scripture principle commonly called Saved By Grace Alone Through Christ Alone. Quite simply it means that we’re resting in an eternal promise that was sealed through the death and resurrection. For this reason, I need not cry for those who have died knowing the Lord as their savior. His grace is a gift to us that we could never earn and may never be lost.

I used to fear death, because after that point there are no retries. There is no hitting the backspace on being a pompous ass who spends her or his entire life busy denying the deity of Christ. There’s no seeing hell and begging the savior that you could return to earth to warn your friends and family that you’ve switched your perspective by seeing with your own eyes the reality of Heaven and Hell.

It could be that the reason Bible verses pop into my head is that I spent a whole childhood hearing scripture quoted. Parables told time and time again. Such as the story of the man who spends his whole life trying to obtain happiness and ease in the life beyond the grave relying on his own good deeds. When he breathes his last breath and stands before the Heavenly judgement seat he’s met with the answer of “Get thee behind me, for I have known you not.” This happens because the man forgot or denied the most important element of what secures peace after death: He forgot to rely on Christ as his haven from the hardships of life–he failed to surrender to the Lord in the way directed in Scripture. Salvation is free for the taking, the New Testament is full of this blessed promise.

The judgement that I one feared now hold me living each day. I no longer worry that I’m among those who will be outcast, far from it, I now look forward to and crave the day that I’ll meet my savior in the eternal rest he has prepared for me (John 14: 2-3).

Jhn 14:2-3 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

As much as I heard scripture quotes my entire childhood, I was also told well intentioned lies, or altered truth as we’ll say for today’s purposes. If my parents read this and deny what I’m saying, I’d remind them that this is life according to laura. I far from resent these misconstructions of fact, they actually saved me at the time. My parents, my dad especially, taught us that intentional self termination would give us a direct ride to eternal pain. It wasn’t enough to say some flash phrase like, “Suicide is a permanent fix for a temporary problem”

Ending my own life is an entire writing of it’s own, but this I do have to say: We need to want to be here not for fear, but because of the reason we’re here in the first place. The reason we’re here is that God has an individual mission for each of us. He guides and directs us, and it is for him to choose our time of death. He knows us before we even knew ourselves. Before even the beginning of time he knew each step, each breath, each choice and burden that we would experience. Is that comforting? I choose to consider it a comfort.

I choose to have one reason to look forward to tomorrow on earth. And in looking for one reason, I have so many more that build on that reason. When I take the covers off in the morning, I thank Him that I’m here still and that I can serve coffee to my husband when he wakes, make breakfast for my kids and kiss them as they leave for school. I also can find about a billion reason to want to see God as I consider that my last breath could be as shortly as after the moment I press the enter key to post this. I have lived well, loved well, and been given so much that I know now and forever will, that I do not deserve which makes me appreciate it even that much more.

On death and dying: You are my comfort, through Christ, you are my comfort. Death is merely a part of life. For me, on earth, death for those still here is going to be the point that they move on trusting too that God has a mission. When I die I’d like them to rejoice for me that I’m now with my Father living with no more pain, no more suffering…no more seizures and no more medication. My heart and my soul no longer will experience conflict.

Forget me, my loves, and live for my journey is done. My race is complete.

These are not words for today, but I’m admitting to anticipating the day that they’re mine to say. For today, I’m going to enjoy the sunshine and thank the Lord that I have today with the people and places he’s given me the pleasure of having and knowing so well.

I Love You

Friday, May 25th, 2018

As a teenager one of the biggest emotional killers my parents could give me if I’d really displeased them was to say that if someone asked about my eligibility as a partner in courtship my parents would say I am not mature enough. Even as I type that it sounds ridiculous, if you live and breath in the year 2018, or maybe at any time since like the beginning of feminism at all. However, for me it was such a punch at my esteem that those words could knock me back as if I were told that my cat had just been run over intentionally and that my other loved animals were next. Why did I care so much? Because I was bred and raised to be a submissive wife and loving mother.
My parents job was to mold me to be the most pleasing I could possibly be in both those roles. Now, as a 33 year old, I hope that my husband and my children consider me to be doing a pretty good job. I’m not ready for my kids to realize that other people do what I do better. Currently I’ll take the hugs and, “Mom, you’re the best” for all they’re worth and save every bit of joy my people have now to last me through when I’m old and they’ve grown.

Before you throw my parents out as one sided and old fashioned, let me continue.

My mom watched her friends get married young and she felt at times if God had someone special for her. Of course He did!!

Psalm 37:4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

My mom has so much to give, of course God wouldn’t leave her single when she had the desire for a husband and kids. At age 29 she got pregnant and by age 41 she had a total of nine kids. My dad’s pretty awesome too. Both are a wonderful testament to Christ’s love and continual provision.
I hope to spend all of my days filling my stories with ways both parents have blessed my life–from misconstrued perspectives to stories about God and salvation that I really hope are true.

When my mom would see I was experiencing sadness that she thought was legit, she would say, “It’s OK, sweet you” then give me a bigger than the present stress story about how everything works out. Her baseline for a lot of things is that you have to love yourself and discipline yourself to be a servant of God before you can help others to any truly worthwhile manner. Mom never kissed me on the head and told me she loved me, she showed it by being an emotional support and watching over us in our chores, baking and cooking. My parents taught us to love God, who gets credit for everything good and is worshiped for his provision and creation of all living things. I sing to my kids every night, my mom prayed every night that God would, encamp His angles around us and protect us from evil. A lot of what she did could never be done by another person, but from her it just fit.

In all this reflection, I’m nearly losing my way…
Here’s my photo of guidance:

This is me. I’m still getting used to the fact that I’m 33. Anyway, here I am. It’s summer again, and as I’ve been doing for as long as I remember, I’m laying out in the grass thinking about what I’m going to be when I grow up. Grow up used to mean what I was going to do when I was older, now it just means what I’ll do if I wake up in the morning. I want to spend each day being useful and making someone else happy, because a day lived without helping another isn’t much of a day.
What I do think about on this day is how many fears I have busted through, how many prayers have been answered in a fashion that I did not expect.

And on today’s subject of love, how I no longer live under the fear that those two most important people will say I’m not worthy of courtship! They did good. :) I’m not sure if they ever had to turn anyone away, because the one who is just right for me came, just as they prayed for all their kids.

There are ways I want to be like my parents, and one of those ways is to teach my kids to love themselves. So far, they don’t seem to be having a problem with it whatsoever! I’m laughing a little as I write that, because they do not live under very tight rules and experience culture themselves which I did not. My parents successfully were able to keep me is a very removed from any realistic taste of life. Our food was whole wheat, our milk 2% and our entertainment only from the stories in the bible, our relaxation was flashlight tag and jigsaw puzzles. Darren and I have never for a moment tried such a ruse. The kids live out loud, and all have either phones or tablets, living very much like any other child in the modern world. My kids go to school and I truly hope will never be afraid or embarrassed to bring anything to us.

I read this and knew I had to include it:

Yes, I realize this poem is about love between two people. But for today’s purposes, it’s about loving yourself. For myself personally, I’ve looked in the mirror as a preteen, for example and hated my “huge nose” and “terrible ears” and at 21 looked at the scale and wondered what the hell had happened to me. How did the numbers go from 135 to 210 in one year?!?! Well, both worked out. To the first problem: My huge nose and terrible ears, you’re one of those lovely elements that make me who I am and really, I think now that you’re totally ok… especially when you smile for real. As for that weight, it went down as fast as it went up and these years later, I’m OK and have four kids so that worked out as well. Loving yourself is a choice, and I can’t love and respect anyone without taking a look at myself and giving myself a silent nod of approval.

My kids haven’t 100% noticed yet, but I’m fucking full of flaws. I have to tell myself and mend my ills every day, every month and plan to continue doing so until I die. I accept me, I regret nothing and I just want to glorify God, enjoy him and his creation forever…now and beyond the grave.

I hope in loving myself, because Christ first loved me, I am continually becoming someone worth loving. At this point in my life I’ve lived long enough to have friends who have died, and friends who for one reason or another I cannot reach out and hug any longer, but what I can do is cherish those with me now.

Early Sunkisses

Saturday, May 19th, 2018


It’s not June yet so I have not purchased sunscreen. The mornings are still chilly enough to send the kids to school in sweatshirts.
As you can see though in this picture, we do have sunshine! I took this photo last Saturday when I temp rose to 75F–while the day was mostly overcast AJ and I did manage to aquire a bit of extra deep pink across our noses and cheeks. I really do think we look kind of cute!

Per our usual summer traditions of recent years, we plan a trip to visit Darren’s family in the midwest. Out there the sun is nearly never covered by clouds, I think the ever whirling winds across the wide open plains take care of that. I always look super shitty in outdoors pictures when we’re there, but it’s all worth it for the smiles on Darren’s face. I enjoy seeing him enjoy the farm environment that he feels he grew up with. The initial sunburns here in WA are always a reminder to me that our big trip is upcoming! It’s not a fun proposition, but when I think of all the sacrifices he’s made for us I’m 100% ready to jump in. So here we come, sunkissed days! We’re smiling and so ready for you.

Count down is on for school being out of session.

If I had alcohol to raise a cheer to, I would say, “Here’s to a happy and safe summer in which we do not drive each other mad!”

Happy 50th birthday, babe!

Wednesday, May 16th, 2018

Happy birthday to my man! We’re still going strong, and while I believe the shirts we bought for you and the cards the kids drew are awesome…I really believe the gifts that are the best of all are the ones that we made together. I hope that you’d agree, and that your year is amazing, baby!!

I love you forever, and no matter what happens I want to be by yourself forever.

Thank you for always being such a provider and guidance for me and for your patience with me over the days, months and years that we’ve had so far.

We have so many more adventures to take, and plenty more laughs as our love grows stronger every day.

Happy 50th, and to many more.

I love you as much today as ever I have.