Tag Archives: daughters

Small mercy

“The Lord repented, not because the people are innocent, but because they are small. His judgment is never final. There is always a dimension of God’s pervading affection where compassion prevails over justice, where mercy is a perpetual possibility.”


Abraham Heschel

The Prophets

In the middle of the grey, cold rainy weekend the sun broke through. The cedar tree in our little yard sparkled in the light. The drops glistened from branches in the sudden brightness.

My daughter, with her artist’s eye, and her deep instincts, went straight outside. She cane back in with images that were breathtaking. The beauty stopped me, and I found myself taking long, deep breaths.

It wasn’t just the angle of the shot that called o my spirit. It was the noticing. I could have kept going through the tasks of the weekend, briefly glancing up as the light changed. But she called me to stop, to look, to really see.

Mercy is a perpetual possibility…

The Advent Writings: of biscuits and home

My mom loved making biscuits. It was the 70s, the era of shortcuts: Bisquik and Pillsbury crescent rolls. From a young age, I did the biscuits. I loved popping the roll of refrigerated dough, scaring my little brother with the “bang”. Mom taught me to tuck things into the rolls; cinnamon sugar and raisins or a pat of parkay. Then we would put 2 in a muffin tin for pull aparts, or roll then pencil thin for skinny breadsticks. Sometimes, we had pigs in a blanket, with tiny “smokies” If there was extra time we would roll out the bisquik dough, patting it and cutting circles with a drinking glass. I loved those biscuits.

Mom was hard to predict. Her choices to stay numb at any cost meant I was always left guessing. Often, quite early on, I was in charge of dinner. Dad often had guests over, from the Bible college or church. The joke was we would find out in Sunday’s church bulletin. Or the secretary to the president (Dad) learned to call and double check that mom knew. My mom would rush off to the grocery store, and leave me in charge of the baking for 50. I would gather the neighbor kids, put 1 or 2 in charge of each recipe, and supervise. “…stir that one a little more” or “add the chocolate chips now, and then you can lick the bowl after.”

Growing up in AZ, baking is a seasonal affair: October to April. Then came the curve ball, as 9 years ago my body asked that I go gluten free/dairy and egg free. (This may be linked to the food patterns described above from the 70s?!).

I stopped baking. I ate store bought gf bread which needs to be charred to a Melba toast texture to be palatable. It was a base for toppings, nothing more. Finally, my mother in law had compassion, working with a gf bread recipe from a bakery in OR until it was just perfect. Every other week she made me bread.

Then my daughter developed food allergies, adding rice and sesame and chia to the mix of taboos. (Side note here, all gluten free bread found in a grocery store contains rice). For awhile, all of my experiments failed. I stopped baking.

But, in this new season in the Pacific Northwest, I am trying out baking again. Crackers and biscuits, scones and muffins. More fails mean more patience is required. The rules have changed, as the ingredients have shifted. I am starting to catch on, and having more yummy successes.

Untangling trauma takes time and hard work. But as the process of redemption unfolds, there are glimmers of good in the mix. One of those nuggets from mom is my love for baking. For those who choose to enter the hard work of story, and pursue the healing that happens, there is much to release. But this is something I choose to keep of my mother’s legacy.

As I co-create generational change, with the help of God, I bake. In Mom’s honor, we had biscuits tonight for Advent. With jam. Not Smucker’s grape jelly, but Oregon marionberry jam.

And it was very good.

I need only to listen

We went out tonight to explore Multnomah village. A mama daughter date, to talk.

  • A decision was before us. I asked what she might need for the conversation. Pen, paper, journal….?
  • I need only to listen”

I stopped, startled by the simplicity of her words.

There are many decisions in front of me, of us. Adult in size and weight, things like housing and jobs and schools. I can get caught up in the task, scrolling through data and going back and forth between supposed options.

  • “I need only to listen”… comes with the whisper of Jesus’ invitation.
  • Cease striving, and know.


Coming home

A daughter came home today. I watched for her face in a crowd of strangers. I strained to see her, the anticipation rising in my soul. I felt the sheer delight burst through my spirit as I saw her, and hugged her tight.

I saw a friend once, so precious to my heart, moments after she passed into the Mystery. Her face held that same longing, that delight, like she had just seen someone for whom she had been longing all her life.

I just finished re-reading Frederick Beuchner’s A Sacred Journey:  “we must learn to listen to the cock crows and hammering and tick-tock of our lives for the holy and elusive word that is spoken to us out of their depths.” 

There was a moment when we were all sitting and braiding hair this weekend, a mother and two of her daughters. And for an elusive breath of time I saw the holy. 


Jeans shopping 

I went Jeans shopping with my middle schooler. Long legs poking out of last year’s pants, and fall temperatures dipping into the 90s, combined with an Old Navy sale to lure us out. 
We both found jeans that fit perfectly; an amazing feat. She doesn’t know that women of all ages can dread jeans shopping and swimsuit shopping. To her it’s just fun. As it should be, right, before evil moves in to steal the goodness.
My “littles” are feeling the need to educate me about middle school. They put words to the contradictions and expectations that swirl through the halls; with the plaid skirts and polo shirts.

Tonight I heard more: “middle school girls want to fit in or stand out”. “They want to be beautiful so they can feel complete.” Ah, twelve.

Memories of twelve flit through my mind as we drive past the Highschool I attended. It is near enough to our house that I could hear the fight song while I was in labor with my second.

I remember the watching, the listening, the trying to figure it all out. It often seemed that there were rules that everyone else knew. To fit in was how you stood out, somehow. To stand out was to destroy the possibility of fitting in.

My middle school son wonders why it is so much harder for middle school girls. Is it? I have never been a guy, so I can only guess.

There are no shortcuts; you can’t fast forward from elementary to college like one kid wished today.

Maybe the way through it starts with a pair of jeans and listening in the car.

A Valentine’s Day blessing for my daughters

Valentine’s Day is so wrapped up in a package of expectation
tied with a bow that is supposed to be “just so”. 

Even as I type that last word some computer glitch makes it space wrong. So I type it 20 times, but the irony is lost on me that I’m trying to get it perfect, the words “just so “. 

So how do I bless you with the phrase “be kind to yourself ” when I come from a long line of perfectionists?

I have been listening  lately to the phrase, “you have no idea how hard it is to be an 11-year-old girl.”  The reality is, 11 still lives in me; as does 20, and 23. But my 11 was different from yours; just like your 49 wil look different from mine. 

I heard this song yesterday from a daddy to a daughter. It reminded me of all the Valentines dates that daddy had with you. He wanted you to know that you’re special. Maybe this time it is for me too, my Father blessing. 

A Valentines gift to you and me to “be kind to yourself” in the middle of the package of beauty and  pain that is called love.

Andrew Peterson: Be Kind to Yourself