Grace for the curve-ball days

by Kari on July 28, 2014

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Because when Mom winds up in the hospital and Julie shows up, as from the grave, singing Led Zeppelin in the backyard, what else is there to do but sit in a cardboard box and laugh out loud?

Some days are just a total curve-ball.

Not to God, of course. He’s the Pitcher. And so when we got whimsy and drove out to surprise my parents with an overnight visit, it was Providence that that night we’d wake to Dad urging us out of bed, “Help me, we’re taking Mom to the hospital.”

It was Providence, of course, that the house we fell backwards into buying would also happen to be right next door to the hospital–Providence Medical Center. It was Providence that we’d wind up back at home, then, standing on our back porch playing with the karaoke machine when Julie, of all people, opened the gate and glided right into the yard, smiling ear to ear.

I about had a heart attack. Let’s just say things did not end well when Julie flew the coop. I instinctively put a hand on each child, Mama-Bear like. But, in classic Julie fashion she beamed, arms wide for a bear-hug, asking for coffee and did we still have her things?

Then she took the karaoke mic in hand and sang Led Zeppelin at the top of her lungs. 

Jeff came home, blinking hard at the scene as he walked through the gate. Julie?! 

Yes. And it was so good to see her. It’s been bitter heartache, to be sure, but I love that girl somethin’ fierce.

And so went the afternoon and the most bizarre of 3 (1)

And so later, when Heidi had decorated her enormous cardboard box and made it her secret clubhouse, of course I had to crack the code and earn my way into the special space. And she plopped right down on my lap and I grinned, ridiculous, as neighbors drove past and we two sat there squeezed into that box laughing out heads off.

What else do you do on days like this?

Because some seasons are curve balls, not just days. Right? Sometimes everything we thought blows away with a gentle summer breeze and plans change. And practicing that “I don’t know” phrase sure does lighten the heart, and makes the unpredictable mundane less insane and more … fun?

Yes, fun.

Because between hospital visits and Led Zeppelin lyrics and absolutely nothing turning out the way you thought, there is grace

Life held lightly. Yes?

So, dear friend, this week: Just climb in the cardboard box and laugh.

Oh Father, for grace to see the humor in the chaos, the laughter in the loss, the joy amidst the pain. For the hope of eternity, the someday righting of every wrong. Thank you for this vapor-life that’s here today and gone tomorrow, that turns our eyes to forever and the joy of knowing all this insanity will someday make sense. You are God; we are not.

{And to you-all, dear friends, here’s to grace for your curve-ball days. Thanks for reading.}



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The Old Paths

by Kari on July 25, 2014

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Thus says the LORD, “Stand you in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it, and you shall find rest for your souls.” Jer. 6:16


They asked for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. We spread it out over several subsequent family nights. They laughed, oblivious to the cheesy overacting and hopelessly dated special effects. I smiled, pleased at the obedient children portrayed and the wholesome humor throughout.

The gentle symphony soundtrack was a welcome relief after just a few too many rounds of Let it Go (anyone else?).

It was refreshing to go for the old path. 

If there has been any lesson this week that has been it. The week felt overwhelming before it began, and though nothing tragic happened, each day brought fresh waves of frustration and general blahs. My reaction, as always, was to look for a new plan. A new book. A new secret. Some new truth that would insert instant joy and miraculously make my mundane brand spanking new.

His word to me instead: “Ask for the old paths.”

I’ve always loved this verse. Jeremiah is speaking for God, rebuking disobedient Judah, calling them to “ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it.” In other words, “Go back and do what you already know to do.”

The promise?

Rest for your souls.

Yes, please.

For me this meant returning to some simple, humble practices that had fallen by the wayside. More time spent slow, sitting, looking children in the eye, reading aloud and really listening. It meant returning to the unhurried bedtime routine, to the kneeling beside the bed and refusing to rush through nighttime prayers. It meant putting family dinner back into its place of prominence, refusing to let laziness steal this sacred hour from our family. It meant reteaching little chores, calling children again to contribute even though it makes every job take twice as long. It meant returning to holding hands and greeting him with a beaming smile.

Little things.

The truth is, when things are off-kilter, I don’t need something new. I don’t need another book, another plan, another new idea.

I just need to return–and do–what I already know.

Anyone else?

I wonder what the old paths are for you? Where have you departed from that good way, that you have known before? I can attest to this truth:

There you will find rest for your souls. 

{Have a blessed weekend rediscovering–and walking–the old paths. Thanks for reading.}



The Table

July 23, 2014

Welcome to the Sacred Mundane Summer Series! Peruse the past posts here–Lauren, Lovely-Anonymous, Janie, Caila, Jessica, Janae. Today we hear from Debra, a dear friend and former housemate. As a single gal with a grown son, working a full-time job, Debra speaks from a different season and sphere … that’s still sacred. Enjoy reading how […]

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Watching Clouds

July 21, 2014

Often creativity comes from desperation, so it might have been my exhaustion speaking when I suggested, “Hey kids, let’s watch the clouds!” I lay flat there on the cool grass; it felt so good.  My eyes burned, tired. The conference had been great, but I was wiped. The kids left play and ran over, lying […]

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Beyond “I’m sorry”: Teaching empathy through … empathy.

July 18, 2014

How do we teach our children empathy?  While all children are innately self-centered, some in particular seem to have an extra-small dose of compassion in their genes. The scene plays out a thousand different ways–a child accidentally causes some sort of injury, emotional or otherwise, or witnesses some unfortunate mishap. Their lack of emotional response […]

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When life hands you the too-big fork…

July 16, 2014

{It is my joy to introduce you to my lifelong best friend and the girl who daily models for me what the sacred mundane looks like. There are no words for how much I love this girl, or how beautifully she endures difficulty with a smile on her face. Please read and take to heart […]

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Because I don’t want to live like an anemone …

July 14, 2014

It’s been awhile since I bled on these keys. Of course there have been guest posts, and reposts, enough food for thought and worthwhile reminders of what really matters. But it’s been awhile since I laid my heart right out here for you to see what’s going on inside. Of course I could say it’s […]

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Because the world isn’t your report card…

July 11, 2014

I can still remember asking my mom the question when I was all of 7-years-old: “Mommy, can I have a report card like the kids at school?” I can still remember her smile. Her looking down at me. Her reply: “Honey, you are doing great. You work hard, you have a great attitude, and you’re […]

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Could a slight schedule-switch work wonders for you?

July 9, 2014

One simple switch worked wonders for us. One of the main reasons we homeschool is to have the freedom and flexibility to “go with” what life brings and what needs and situations present themselves, so we’re far from rigid. But though it’s fluid, we definitely have our daily routine, and I love it. Except when […]

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Because sometimes bedtime lasts forever … and it should.

July 6, 2014

So thrilled to be over at MOPS International‘s blog Hello, Darling today sharing this again. Enjoy! ~  It all happened tonight. Five minutes earlier we had been laughing. But now I pulled her blankets up, kissed her round, peach cheeks, and saw a flash of sadness and fear in her eyes. “What is it, babygirl? […]

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