Serenity, Trust

Go. Stay. (A note to my mom)

Well. It’s done. My parents sold their home in Illinois (an hour away from me) and are moving to California permanently. No offense to my dad, who I respect and love and will miss like crazy, but I want to take a few minutes to unpack my feelings about my mom moving 1,712 miles away from me.

The mature, God-fearing, blogger/writer in me, who desires to provide healing and perspective for people who are sad, fearful, worried, and desperate for a word of hope, has some things to say to my mom. First of all, “go”. Go and embrace it. I know you have lived in Illinois for 22 years and have sweet, loyal and hilarious friends, but they will always be in your life. 

You are the only woman I know who has never lived in any state longer than 5 years after you got married, yet still fly, on a regular basis, to Oregon, Washington and California to visit friends where you used to live. Your servant heart and love for God lead you to volunteer and join Bible studies everywhere you went, resulting in quick, lasting and solid relationships with women. You didn’t pout, at least for very long, and wait for everyone to notice the new girl. You jumped in and made fast friends wherever life dropped you. 

You still text and call and send birthday cards to each other.  Who does that? I have a terrible propensity towards “out of sight out of mind” so I am scared to death that my friends might think I have died if I move away! Even though the Illinois girls will miss you, I have no doubt you will maintain the bond you have built here.

As for me and my family, particularly Emma, we bless you and give you “permission” to go and be happy about it. I know I have given you a hard time about going, but I am grateful, as some have reminded me to be, that I have had you here for 20 plus years and now it’s time for you to share yourself with my siblings in California. They need you too, after all. Who wouldn’t need a mom like you? 

I trust God will take care of my heart and soothe the sad ache I feel when I realize I can’t just drive an hour to get a hug and watch movies until midnight. 

It’s OK, mom. I will be OK. You will be OK too.  I am happy for you and excited for what life adventures God has for you and dad as you move on from here. 


Now, the bratty, self-centered, “strong-willed child” child in me also has a few things to say about this move to California:


Don’t you want to stay and live with me? I will make you a room! We can kayak and play pickleball and hike and shop and eat our way around town. We can organize and clean and cook because I hate doing all of those things, but you always make it more bearable and even fun when we do it together. When I have to work and show houses, you can ride with me and be my navigator. 

Who is going to get the impossible stains out of our clothes or sew on buttons or hem our pants? You can’t really expect me to be a grown up and do it myself, can you?!

And clothes shopping? Forget about it. You always find clothes for me at your second hand store and I just wear them because A, I am too lazy to shop for myself and B, I am too cheap to buy them myself. My fashion future is very bleak.

Who is Emma going to giggle with at possibly the weirdest inside jokes and observations and take her on shopping adventures?

And omygosh, who will rub my feet. My feeeeet! This is a longstanding tradition (that I know you just love) that no one else can, or is willing, to do. 

I will miss deciding on a whim to come up and spend the weekend at your house, playing cards and fitting in more activity in 24 hours that any other 2 women on the planet. 

You serve and love without thought for yourself. The time you spent with me at the hospital when I had Leukemia almost, but not quite, makes me wish we could go back. Maybe just a nice little hospital stay, minus the Leukemia part. I saw so many patients who had families that just added to the stress of having cancer. You were a bright spot to not only me, but the nurses who came in our room. And of course, they all wanted to come in our room because you and Emma had decorated it with white Christmas lights and party streamers.

Maybe that’s the best way to say it: doing life with you is like having a perpetual party. Your faith, your outlook, your twisted sense of humor, make everyday life lighter. Brighter. Better.

So, even though my refrain about you moving, which I have reiterated about a thousand times the past few months, has been, “this is stupid”, I know it’s time to buck up and shut up and let you go with a more graceful sendoff.

We have a unique and intimate momma-daughter friendship that cannot be threatened or thwarted by mere miles. You are embedded in my spirit and cherished in my heart.

So, even though you “go”,

You “stay”. 

I love you momma. 


Without Excuse

My son and I made it to California. And in case you are curious about our progress on the afore-mentioned Rosetta Stone Marathon Plan, neither of us know any more German than we did before we left Springfield. Sigh. We made it here is 3 long days, but the hardest day, by far, was the stretch from Topeka, Kansas to Boulder, Colorado. It was 9 hours of nothing: no signal which meant nothing to listen to, nothing to read, nothing to watch and on top of that, nothing to look at (except the plains of Kansas-which equals pretty much nothing. Sorry Kansas.)

This day stood in stark contrast to the following day where we had full signal most of the time and the topography was breath-taking around every windy turn. In fact, it was so beautiful to look at that I didn’t even need to listen to or watch anything. I just wanted to take in the scenery and let it touch my soul. This confounded and I sensed, sort of bothered, my son. He had headphones in and would alternate listening to music or watching movies on his lap top as if he were making up for lost time. He kept reminding me that I was free to listen to the radio or pair my blue tooth to the car speakers. If you happen to be a Seinfeld fan, there is a scene where Elaine’s boyfriend, David Puddy, is flying with her on a trip. As time passes, she becomes more and more irritated that he clearly has brought nothing to do. He just sits in his seat and stares at the seat-back in front of him, contentedly. Eventually her agitation becomes unbearable. She yells, “So, you’re just going to sit there and stare for the rest of the flight!?!?”. He says, dumbly, “Ya, that’s right.” And despite her meager efforts to bite her tongue and mind her own business, she snaps and tells him that she can’t take it anymore and that they need to break up. I was waiting for a similar outburst from Berkeley. It’s possible that I may have put headphones in without pushing play, just to avoid such a scene. Call me simple, but I just didn’t need, or want, to do anything but look around.

Observing nature, especially views that are not ones I see every day, help me connect with God. And that’s really the way He designed it to be. What is seen in His creation is evidence of what is not seen. Romans 1:20 says that “since the creation of the world God’s invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made. So we are without excuse.” He is Spirit, but what He has created represents Him and is a visible stamp of His existence. Being in nature does for me what Yoga is supposed to do for other people; It clears my head and mind, leaving it open to spiritual things.  I am focused on the beauty around me rather than the bills, my job, my to-do list, my weight, my past or my future.

Maybe you are like my husband and are what he refers to as “indoorsy”. when I suggest we go outside to do pretty much anything but travel to another inside location, he has been known to say, “there’s nothing for me out there.” And that’s OK (weird, but OK 😉). But it’s still possible for him, and for you, to appreciate nature. (Through a window and from a cozy, bug-free and temperature controlled indoor environment). Maybe you can’t stare for hours without distraction, but this world is a gift to you. Maybe today, try to see God where you live, through what he has designed especially for people in your particular part of the world to enjoy.

Today I am at the beach in California, so any amateur can find something amazing about that. But even in Illinois from whence I traveled, I can celebrate carrdinals (they don’t have those out here as far as I can tell) and fire-flies and even locusts. I can see God’s hand in the corn fields and sunsets across the flat plains. I can embrace the weather that is distinct to the Midwest-humidity and sub-zero temperatures…

Well, I am not sure I am spiritually mature enough to be grateful for those components of His creation just yet.

In the over -load of life, maybe take time to just observe. Just “listen” to the world without the music or the media. And then thank Him. Thank Him that He put it there so you would see it and know in your heart that He made it just for you to.