Archive for May, 2009

May 30, 2009


(Okay, listen, before I start this post wherein I say a lot of very loving things about Erin, let me first put a rumor to rest-  I do love her.  A ton.  And everything I am going to say here I believe strongly.  But Internet, we are not "partners".  I promise.  We are straight arrows.  For reals.  So get over it.  We work together, we laugh together, we have cried together, we do so much of life together, we love love love each other.  But not like that.)

Erin turned 30 last week. 
Can you even believe it?

She looks incredible don't you think?

I've known her almost half of her life.
I was kind of a kid when we met, and she tolerated me quite well.
She was my ride to youth group.
She drove a little white car with one headlight.
We listened to The Fly's and sang along.
She was uber cool.  More someone I looked up to than a friend at that point.
And then YWAM happened,  missions stuff, Poland, camp stuff, Toronto.
She went away.


Don't get me wrong, she did great things while she was gone.  God did great things in her and through her. 
But I missed her more than I thought I would.
And she was gone for longer than I thought she would be.
She came back though. 
And now she is more than one of my very best friends, (though most of my very best friends are more to me than very best friends).
She is fiercely my friend, sisterlike in the way she loves me.
She is my pastor.
She is my kiddo's aunty.
And we have a business together.
She is a lot. 
And I want her to know that.
Who she is and what she does means a ton to me.
She's amazing.
You are a light.  Though I missed out on the first half of your life, I hear you were a fiery girl, and you have kept that.  You are full of passion.  Full of it.  And you have done amazing things because of that.  And I look up to you still.  The way you follow Jesus is truly wonderful.  The way you talk about Him, the way you love Him, the way you reflect Him, is big, and bright and bold.  You are gifted in so many ways, playing, writing, speaking and photographing are only a few of the many things you do well.  You love well.  I see it.  With your family, and mine, and with your friends, the love runs deep. 
You are a leader, you lead well, you teach well, your heart is communicated beautifully.  The world is better for having you.  Not just my little world, but the whole world, because you are in it, hoping and working to change dark to light, is better.
And Erin you are beautiful.  You're stunning.  You're gorgeous.  You are graceful.  You are radiant.  In every sense of all of those words.  Inside and out.  And one of the things I love about you is that you know all of these things.  You know who you are and what you are.  Your identity is secure because you are intent about looking to the right One for answers. 
That is one of the greatest things anyone has shown me-
What it looks like to know you are so loved by your Father.
You are. 
Love you so much, always,
p.s.  You make a great model.
And I love your smile.

May 15, 2009

Mud Slinging

Today was a long day, I was hoping for a peaceful afternoon.  And it started out peaceful enough.  The kids were playing in the pool.  I was close by, but not too close, entrenched in a good book, zoned out.  Good times.  There was splashing, lots of laughing, the occasional squeal of excitement, a perfect afternoon soundtrack. 

And then… 

Apparently the pool has a bigger leak than I thought.  Because the next thing I know, I look over and see this:



Let me go get my camera-
because this-
this is way fun
this is classic
this is priceless
this is the kind of wild abandon


and happiness
and joy
and craziness
that childhood should be made up of.  

These are the memories I want them to have.
I want them to be able to make messes, and sling mud, and eat a little dirt. 

We had a blast. 

I played along when Griffen suggested a mud mask would
"Do wonders for my skin"
And then I hosed them off.
A lot.
Ten or eleven showers later they were all clean and lovely. 
Ready for dinner and a movie. 
And some snuggles.
So it wasn't the peaceful afternoon I was hoping for.
It was way, way better.

May 11, 2009

this Mood

On days like today when the clouds and rain threaten to remove every bit of light and joy from my mood, I have to work hard at not whining the day away.   On days when I feel like I want to whine the day away, I try to create.  And for me creating usually means taking photos.  On days like today though, when the light is stifled by stormy skies, it's almost impossible to get good photos.  So this voice in my head says- "Go work on your to-do list, and then take a nap, give up on the photo idea.  Creating can't happen on a day like today."  The thing is, if this voice had just kept quiet, and not been so adamant, not said the word "can't", I would probably be doing dishes right now, but I am not a fan of the thought, the idea, the word "can't", and so
I pick up my camera
And I find some light
And I compose
And I capture
I take pictures, because it feeds me. 
It is an indulgence, like chocolate.  It brightens my soul. 
And I am addicted to it.  The details captivate me.
The dimples on her hand…
The way the shape of her ear, and that lock of hair, and her eyelashes, and her nose and mouth all follow the same curve…
The way she carefully chose out which buttons to hold…

and how her slightly parted lips match that spool of pink thread…
And so, some days I write poems on days like today. 
Some days I dance. 
Some days I just love on my kids.

This moment though, is today's "yes I can".
It is just a moment I suppose, it is just three pictures of Grace choosing her favorite button from my great-grand-mother's sewing kit
It's a poem, a song- and it's love.
A poem  
I'm not sure exactly what I want to say…
I think…
It is such a gift, such an amazing thing that God put this ability to create in all of us. 
Some of us can create meals, or create buildings, or books, songs, some of our art is in numbers, some in wood, some in fabrics… 
You get the idea, my point is- it is in all of us, the ability to reflect Him by creating. 
We can choose light and joy. 
We can have it, and be it. 
We can see it.
And I love that there are buttons all over the floor underneath them.
You know what I mean?
It works. 
I think sometimes He looks at the light and joy He has created and says "I love that mess around them.  It works."

May 8, 2009

Hoping for the Best

Just a quick recap of this week-
Oh, and I am peppering this post with these lovely photos that I miraculously got on our walk the other night.  No idea what made my kids decide to be so wonderful and adorable while I had the camera out, but I love that they did.

The van broke down. Scary and sad and stuff. 
Sunday night I realized that I was the worst mom ever and had forgotten Grace's birthday was the next day.
Also realized her father was going to miss it, same as her first birthday.  Hard, more sad.
Also realized that he was going to have them on Mother's Day.  More hard, sad. 

Crisis averted- The Blinns came through with help and a loaner vehicle.  And he agreed to let me have the kids for half of Mother's Day.

Grace's Birthday, hard hard hard, but a fun day out.
Crisis averted- I did actually remember her Birthday in time to celebrate it.


Found out the transmission was bad on the van.  Like totally bad.  It needs a new one.  Crap.

Crisis averted- I have a vehicle for now and can take some time to pray about and think through what steps to take.

Got our tax return, but because of some issues that he didn't resolve it was cut in half.

Crisis averted- We worked it out.  It's all gravy.

Got ready to take the boys to school and the loaner would not start.  And then Emma threw up while I was waiting for help to arrive.


Crisis averted- It was just the battery, we jumped it off and it's fine now.  And Emmy was fine for the rest of the day.

So now it is Friday.   This week is behind us.  I guess I could look back and think about what an awful week it has been and how God has not really shown up. I could, I guess, wonder where He was when all of the crappy stuff was happening. 
But really when I look back at this week, I have some shining examples of how He comes through, how He provides, how He takes care. 
Last night I went to a gathering at a friends house, and they listened, and hugged, prayed for me, and loved me.  Everybody should have friends like mine.
So, here's to a great weekend.  For me.  And you. 
Good things are on the horizon I think.  Grand things.  For me.  And you.

"Let the sun shine in
And face it with a grin
Cause smilers they never lose
And frowners they never win
Oh, let the sun shine in
And face it with a grin
Open up your heart
and let the sun shine in"

lots and lots of love,

May 7, 2009

the Wonder Blinns

    Once upon a time, my van broke down on the highway.  And I was super freaked out and scared.  And I started to have a panic attack, and I turned to my totally oblivious children and in between gasps for air I said  "EVERYBODY CALM DOWN!".  To which Griffen replied "Why are you breathing like that?" in a very annoyed and bored voice.  "I DON'T KNOW, BUT EVERYBODY CALM DOWN!"  I said.  "Mom, we're fine" he muttered.  

    And then I called Erin.  "My van broke down on the highway and I'm freaking out."  And then she said "I knew I sensed there was trouble in gamma sector five two.  Stay calm good citizen, we'll be right there.  Wonder Blinns- UNITE!"  And in a flash Erin and Debo were right behind me.
    Super Deb used her amazing happiness-kid-magnetizing powers to bring children safely out of the vehicle and make them laugh at the same time.  Erin flew carseats from van to car in a flash.
    Seconds later, Megs arrived.  "I'm on the job, let's get this thing organized!  First let's save the children.  Here, put them in my handy German supermobile.  Okay, now we need queso, STAT!"  And off to Taco Cabana they went, safe and sound.
    Bridget was not far behind, on the scene, poised and ready to assure me that everything was going to be okay.  "Bonjour!" she said.  "Oh hi, I'm so glad you're here- Wait, where are you off too?"  I asked.
"To the bookshop, I just finished the most wonderful story about a beanstalk and an ogre…" She said staring dreamily at the sky.  Then she turned to me and said "Oh, but your breathing is not right, hmm.  My super compassion is kicking in. Here, let me put my hand on your back and make everything better." And she did.

    And that is pretty much exactly what happened folks.  True story.  Blinns are awsome.

May 4, 2009

Grace Elizabeth

When I named her that I said "I never want anyone to call her anything but Grace.  No nicknames.  Grace is a beautiful name, let's use it."  And by about day three, I was calling her Gracey.  Gracey Pie came next.  And about a month later she was just Pie.
Our Pie.
And somehow it suits her perfectly.  I will not extrapolate the whole thing out, but she is sweet, and sometimes tart, a little rough around the edges, yummy for sure.  (okay maybe I will extrapolate the whole thing out).
Today our Pie is two.  And I say our, because Grace more than my other kiddos somehow, feels very…  shared.  (I have been trying to stop saying "our" since the divorce, but when I say it of Pie, I do not mean that she is shared with him.) 
She is shared with her Aunt Bridge
She is very near co-parented with her Aunt Bridge.  Bridge has held Pie more than anyone else besides me.  And I know about holding babies.  I know what passes through your hands into their little selves as you pat their backs and hush them to sleep.  Pie loves her Bridge, and Pie is loved completely by her.
(All of my kids are, but this is Grace's birthday and she is the baby, and today she is going to get some very cliche baby love.)
And she is shared with her Aunty Erin.
Aunty Erin plays favorites sometimes, which is okay to do if you are an aunt. 
Grace is a common favorite as of late.  Because Pie is funny, and Aunty Erin appreciates a good sense of humor.  And because Pie loves words, and we all know Aunty Erin loves words.  Pie is my second baby to be named after her. (I know that sounds weird, but it's true.  Gabe's middle name is Erin, and Erin's middle name is Elizabeth.)  Erin was there when Grace was born.  These two have some history.  And I love that. 
And she is shared with Alisa Pizza
My baby sis.  They are both the babies.  Alisa gets tons of quality alone time with my kids (read: she babysits.  a lot.)  But it's great because she loves hanging out with them and she doesn't let them get away with stuff when I'm gone.  Except Pie.  Pie gets away with everything.  Because Alisa Pizza thinks it is cute and funny.  I think this must be a youngest child thing.  
So we all had a little birthday lunch today at Central Market.
And then, the usual-  bookstore
and ice cream.
It is a wonderful thing to me that she is surrounded by such amazing women.
It makes me think that it's okay that she is such a mess, my babygirl who is not such a baby anymore.
She is shared with Debby, and Megs, and Debo too.  There is no lack of fabulous females in her life.  And she is shared by me, I don't mind sharing her after all.  More and more lately people have said that she is "just like me".  She looks just like me, she acts just like me.  I can kind of see that I guess, but I think that's not totally true.  I am way nicer than her, and not half as beautiful.   :`)  Really I take it as a great compliment when people say that.  She is strong, and spunky, and funny and…  I could go on.

Gracey Love,
You are spark of a girl, and I am proud to be your Mama.  You, with your baby face and tiny little self, are a force.  You are a leader.  You are bold and brave.  You are smart and quick.  You are maybe the most intense little girl I have ever known.  Your words, Baby your words are a blessing.  People light up when you talk Love, I've seen it.  You are a gift, one I did not know I needed, one I could not imagine living without.  So tonight when you stood up in your bed after everyone else was asleep, and asked me to hold you, I did.  And we walked outside in the cool night air and I sang to you, and we danced.  And you may not remember this birthday at all Grace, but I will never forget it.  So thank you for all of the moments you have given, and all of the moments you will give- of unexpected joy.  That is what you are.  Pie you are shared.  Grace you are loved.
I love you so, so much, always,


May 3, 2009

dinner with them

Some Thursday nights, I get to have dinner with Paul and Debby.  Some Thursday nights I cook, sometimes he does.  She usually does not, but this Thursday, she, in her ridiculously adorable apron
 made us a very yummy dinner.
At the table
And although I love the food that we eat together on Thursdays, it's not why I love the dinner.  I love the conversation more.  I love being in the presence of these two people.   I love hearing about all of their history and watching their present unfold.
I love when he walks in the room and grins slightly like this.
I love whatever quip comes accompanies the slight grin.
I love her hands that are never still.
I love her laugh.  She sits in the chair opposite of their awesome bay window and the way the light falls on her smiling face is magic sometimes.  I wish I had a picture of that, but she strictly forbid it, so it is my memory to keep, her smiling face lit up by the setting sun. 

Most of my Thursday night memories are mine to keep- Stories I've heard and told.  Questions I've asked, and some I have answered.  
These Thursday nights are packed full of love and life, given and received. 
And I'm grateful for that most of all.

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” -Melody Beattie

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