Gratitude and Full redemption

I’m borrowing Katie’s words tonight.

Her mom died yesterday – young, hip grandma, loved the Lord with her whole everything – recent cancer diagnosis, a few days in home hospice, and she was gone.

Since Mom’s death on July 9th, when I hear stories like Katie’s – like her mom’s – I have found a compassion in me that I’ve never tapped into before. I can only think that it’s the promise of the Lord in his word – from 2 Corinthians, chapter 1:

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.

Our Comfort abounds. Indeed. Anyway, I have to be careful because I’ve always been the dramatic type, and I can tend to take other people’s stories onto myself, which becomes a skewed form of entertainment. And if you’re still with me after that admission, then you must be a real friend.

But I digress.

The Lord has been my comfort. I have experienced His nearness and goodness in ways that I can’t really explain. I have had moments of hopelessness, of anger, and of real sadness. But I have never doubted that God is sovereign, and good, and worthy to be trusted, even in this.

So when I found Katie’s post last night about her dear mom, something in me grieved so deeply, but I also felt like the Lord watered a seed of hope deep within me. I ache for her, for her family. And I still believe that God is good. Like Katie does.




This morning I woke up early.  I went right in to see my mom.  The last couple of days I’ve done my bible study near her and even though she doesn’t really respond, I still read some of the verses out loud to her.  She loves the Word.  Today she was just such a faint shadow of herself.  It was hard to even read the verses out loud…  I placed my hand on her stomach and prayed once again that God would heal her from her pain, from her sickness, I prayed that she would live so that I could have her longer in my life, but more so that He would get the ultimate glory for stretching out His mighty arm to heal her.  I read about Abraham about how God parted the red sea and I prayed this verse:

LORD, I have heard of Your fame;
I stand in awe of Your deeds, O Lord.
Renew them in our time, make them known!
Hab 3:2

I prayed believing, and prayed asking Him what His will was.  I wanted to know what He would do, I had grown so weary from waiting…  from watching my mom slip further and further away from whom I have known her to be.  And then I came across this passage:
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.  For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the sons of God.  For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.  And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.
For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees?  But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.
Rom 8:18-25

This is her calling:  to eagerly await her adoption as daughter, the redemption of her body.  She belongs with Him.  She is His beloved, His child, His daughter.  It could not have been more clear to me.  She belongs with Him.  I needed to come to the understanding that, when praying for healing, God’s discernment is ultimate and it is good.  He has taught me that there is no shame in asking and hoping and that He is, in fact, mighty to save.  There are times when He discerns that He will hold off on the adoption of one of His children so that His ultimate good can be done, and then there are times when He decides that it is best to take His child. So I sat there with my mom, crying and praying, realizing that she would be best with Him, happiest, most fulfilled.  And I knew that, while He could heal her, He was not going to, He was going to take her.

And He did.  She left this world this afternoon.  She is no longer here.  She has been redeemed.

Sadness washes over us, but it does not take our hope.  We will again Praise Him.  We will bless His name forever and ever.
Here is how Abraham started his faith journey:
“By faith Abraham when he was called,
obeyed by going out to a place which
he was to receive for an inheritance; and he
went out, not knowing where he was going.”
Heb 11:8
And that is how we will start our journey now; without my mom, by faith, not knowing where we are going. And, like my mom, we will go out and lead a life of love, eagerly awaiting our adoption as sons of God.  Our lives will never be what they were.  Please pray for us.


And now we turn the corner to Thanksgiving. Dad is coming down, he’s cooking [how blessed are we?!] and hanging out for a couple of days. Thursday is November 25th – Mom and Dad’s 56th wedding anniversary. They were married on Thanksgiving Day 1954 – Mom spent a year as a teacher [she HATED it!] and the only time they could get even a brief honeymoon was over Thanksgiving weekend. They were married in Platteville, vacationed in Chicago, and were back to work near Madison on Monday. In 2004 we hosted a dinner for their 50th anniversary – also on Thanksgiving day that year. So it has such a special meaning for us. It will be hard. Yes. But it will be good.

I am counting on it.


Small Town Observations

* Our mailbox is across the street from our house. Weird.
* Our mail is delivered by someone in a grey pick up truck – not an official USPS vehicle. Weird.
* Our kids have made more friends in the last 2 days than in the last 2 years. Pretty great.
* The world’s greatest Walmart.. is here. In this little town. Weird – but wonderful. And is ‘all the way across town’ – so, like 6 minutes.

* People leave their cars running – keys in them, the whole deal – at the bank, the grocery store, the post office.. 
* I took a long, long walk this afternoon in the blazing heat [we are NOT in Racine anymore, hallelujah!] with 60 pounds of KID in the double jogger… and we spent most of the time meandering purposefully through a ginormous cemetery. The population of this thing has GOT to be bigger than that of the town. And oh, if you know me, you know I love a good cemetery! This one does not disappoint. A cursory first look revealed headstones back to the early 1800’s, and I’m sure there will be some from the 1700’s as I keep looking. What a story these stones tell! And this particular cemetery follows the ‘only real plants from May-November, only fake ones from November-May’ which I love. Some of the stones have elaborate gardens… some are starkly blank. I’m not sure why it’s so moving to me, but I think it hearkens back to the Martens [my family] semi-annual cemetery tour in Platteville, WI. No matter what was going on in our lives in busy Green Bay, twice a year we would make the trek to Platteville with a trunk full of artificial flower arrangements for mom and dad to put on the stones of their parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles. It’s one of the most favorite memories of my childhood, to be sure… I only knew Mom’s mom – all the others were long gone when I was born – and something about the cemetery made Mom and Dad tell stories. I love to hear the stories of their families! This Baraboo move has me strangely nostalgic for Platteville. This southwestern section of the state of Wisconsin is some of the most beautiful land I’ve ever seen – seriously. It’s gorgeous. I’m grateful.


Will post photos soon of the piano… tonight, it was showtunes. One of the problems I’m facing, though, is that living with this piano again evokes memories of 1988 – so the only songs I can think to play, suddenly, are the songs I played on this piano in high school. So we’ve been singing Les Miserables, Richard Marx, Chicago 19, and Stephen Schwartz stuff. Not bad. Now I just need to find my hot rollers…





Post the fourth picture on the fourth folder of your pictures and explain! oh yeah, and tag 4 more people…..


Tag! You're it.

Tag! You're it.


Summer of 2006 at Nashotah House. Wonderful, wonderful.


Your turn!

One Down, One to Go



Hello friends!

It is the 5th day of Christmas… and there is one version of the one appropriate song for the day that trumps all others:



I miss John Denver. Don’t judge.

But anyway, it is indeed the 5th day of Christmas. We didn’t put our tree up until the 23rd, so we’re in no hurry for Christmas to come to an end. I had to run some errands this morning, and I turned on the all-Christmas-all-the-time [since All Saints Day!] radio station…. and I was taken aback to hear something not remotely Christmas-y. The stores have only picked over bins of 80% off Christmas items… picked over candy.. leftover tinsel and garland… and I walked back into the door of my house and heard the carols singing and saw the tree [aluminum] and its light [rotating disc of varying colors. Coolest. Tree. Ever.] and I was relieved to be walking back into Christmas. How has this happened? How has it come to this?? 


We have a big advantage at our house; Ms. A was born on Christmas morning, and Mr. A was born on Dec 28.. T-man was placed with us on Dec 28th,  and Fr. S celebrates an Epiphany birthday… so we have reasons to celebrate throughout the 12 days of Christmas. I think that helps keep the holidays front and center for us, and I’m so glad. I’m just not ready to put it all away yet, and I’m always too sheepish to embrace the Incarnation during Advent [it’s the Lutheran left in me. I can’t help it]. 


But what I want more than anything is for the Incarnation of this Emmanuel to be recounted, retold, relived, revealed in me all year long – more of Him and less of me. This is my prayer on this 5th day of Christmas.

And, I wouldn’t mind 5 or so new golden rings.


Oh! The title of this post refers to this:



Right Hand - Stitches Out!

Right Hand - Stitches Out!


I got my stitches out this morning. I’ve been playing piano every day – a couple of nights ago it was close to an hour’s worth of playing – my right hand could have gone on all night, while the left hand needed a shake-down break every 4 minutes to get the blood flowing again. I’d rate the right hand’s ability to play at about 80-85%. I’d never have believed it.

One week to go until the left hand begins the same process. I can’t say enough good about the healing process, my ability to play, the level of pain – it all has been FAR better than anything I expected. I am profoundly grateful, and will be all the more so when both surgeries are but a distant memory.

Christmas joy to all of you!

Quick Advent Update

Tinsel and things


O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee,
O Israel.



I’m feelin’ a little gloomy today, so that verse of the well-known Advent hymn ‘O Come O Come Emmanuel’ is doing it for me. Briefly..

…It’s wet, cloudy, gray, and generally gross outside. I’d rather have snow than this stuff. It’s not even officially winter yet. I need to get a grip.


…I’m t-minus- 36 hours from a trip to the hospital for my first carpal tunnel repair surgery. I’ve been wanting this surgery for 10 years.. finally found the time for it… and I go from having forgotten about it to being slightly terrified. My hands are a very significant part of the way the Lord has wired me musically. I’m totally debilitated in my piano playing without the procedure… and completely spooked at the thought of getting my hands cut open and repaired. In the grand scheme of things, people have got it a whole lot worse – of that I’m fully aware. I’ll let you all know how things are by mid-week – hopefully I’ll be typing again by then, at least a little. The doctor wants me playing piano the day after the surgery — ‘no better therapy or rehab’. I’m sure all will be well.


…also confronted some of the issues that one faces with aging, declining-in-health parents. Praying for lots of grace and wisdom on that front.


O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee,
O Israel.


Come, Lord Jesus.