Category Archives: Family

An Unexplainable Feeling

The current prompt at dVerse Poets Pub is to write poetry as a vehicle for emotion, which is pretty much what most poetry is anyway. When I read the prompt, I immediately knew the emotion I wanted to write about, but wasn’t sure how I wanted to write about it. And I’ve spent most of the last two days making cookies and deviled eggs, avoiding the emotion I’m struggling with. Then, with 3 hours left to post, I realized what I wanted to write. So here is my haibun for the prompt.


Our vet says it’s for the best and will make him feel much better. And the veterinary ophthalmologist didn’t say it was the only option, but she did suggest it was the best for him. I try to tell myself it’s no big deal. As I said to both vets and several other people I’ve talked to about it, it’s not like I’ve never had a one-eyed dog before. Bette lost an eye when she was only 7 weeks old, and she lived to be the best 18-year-old Cocker Spaniel there ever was. So why do I have this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach now that we’ve made the appointment? Why am I second guessing whether maybe, just maybe, having to have drops in his eye several times a day for the rest of his life might be better than having that eye removed? He can’t see out of it anyway; hasn’t for years with that cataract.

Perhaps it’s the regret that we didn’t have the cataract removed years ago, which might have prevented glaucoma now. But as my cousin Noryce says, you can’t go back to Tuesday, or when Roman was only 3 and first showed signs of the cataract. You can’t go back, you can only move forward, even if that means doing something you’d rather not do when you know it’s in the best interest of someone, or some dog, else. But still I’m sad—that’s not really the right word, I don’t even know what the right word is—I’m angry that I can’t go back and do it all again, avoid this inevitable, remaining option. I love my little dog, and I’ll love him just as much, if not more, when he only has one eye. Maybe that’s the crux of what I’m feeling—love and empathy. I’ll hold onto that and to the faith that God loves him, too. He is, after all, named after one of the books of God’s Holy Word.

Turning a blind eye
to the pain and suffering
is not an option


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Daddy Isn’t Here

Daddy isn’t here anymore
He left this world before my son was born
Yet I see him each day in the heart of my son
The length of his arms and the smile I adore

We didn’t follow Daddy to the church
When he was gone no one read God’s Word
We didn’t sing his favorite hymn
Or even lay him in the ground

The Coast Guard poured him into the sea
There’s no grave to visit for you and me
Just memories of his loving ways
Stories to tell that keep him alive in our hearts

The mad money he sent to my college mailbox
The times he rescued his four daughters from car troubles
The smile on his face when he saw me baptized
Memories of when we sometimes didn’t agree

Daddy isn’t here anymore
He’ll never come again and knock on my door
But one day we’ll see him again, waiting at God’s door
Until that day we’ll miss him, you and I

* * * * *

The Poetics prompt at dVerse Poets Pub yesterday was to write about someone or something we miss. I immediately thought of my dad. I’ve been missing him especially lately as I’ve been listening to (and went to the concert of) Chris Stapleton who sings a song called “Daddy Doesn’t Pray Anymore.” I can’t hear that song without crying and missing my dad. Parts of this poem are inspired by that song as well as conversations I had with my oldest sister this past week.


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Sixty Years

Celebrating newfound love
Your vows were never to betray
Blessed together by God above
Sixty years ago today

Many years of abiding grace
Have followed that blessed day
A life begun in love’s embrace
Sixty years ago today

As we honor husband and wife
Years unending so we pray
Bound together in eternal life
Sixty years ago today

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Blessings of Boldness

Being bold and courageous is hard and sometimes risky, but it’s always worth the risk. Last week when I posted my 6th Anniversary post, I mentioned that I was going to share on Monday about the blessings of being bold. But one of the two things I planned to share didn’t go as I had planned and so I didn’t write that post. After God added another blessing to the mix, I’m now ready to share.

Several weeks ago I wrote a post about my personal experience with Planned Parenthood. I was terrified to post it, but I did, on a Wednesday evening thinking no one would see it. That one little post ended up getting more views and shares in three days than I’ve ever had for any post. Some of my posts have been viewed more over the long haul, but never in such a short period of time.

Then, about a week later, I got a comment from Randy Alcorn (okay, it was from his media relations specialist) asking if he could re-blog that post. Of course I said yes, because being re-blogged by an author with his credentials is a great blessing for a relatively unknown author like me. Plus, it meant my story now has the potential to touch even more lives and be a blessing to others. His post including my re-blogged post went live on Monday here.

The next blessing came when I was bold and courageous to share my story in church this past Sunday. We are doing a sermon series on how God changes lives, and He has definitely changed mine. It was hard and risky to share my story, but it was well worth the risk. Afterwards I got lots of hugs, plus a few people who said they had been through something similar and that what I shared helped them. I also received some follow-up notes from some members of our church, including a handwritten note that came in the mail (those are my favorite kind).

I was all set to share the link to the audio of my testimony in my post on Monday, but it turned out that the recording got messed up and you couldn’t really hear it. There was a lot of static and my voice was so quiet that even when the static stopped for a second or two, you couldn’t hear me. I was so upset, because I knew there were people who had asked me to send them the link because they wanted to listen but weren’t able to come to our church that morning.

So, because I didn’t have the audio to share in this post, I had decided not to write it. Then I mentioned to my awesome husband that the audio had been messed up on my testimony and he replied, “I recorded it. It’s on my phone.” I was so happy and felt so blessed that he cared so much to have recorded it. I was able to upload it to SoundCloud and create the recording below.

And the triple blessing in all of this is that I discovered how easy it is to use SoundCloud and embed a SoundCloud clip into my blog, so now I can add audio readings of some of my poetry, too.

Anyway, the lesson for me this week is that God is good and often works to bless us even when we think He’s forgotten us or doesn’t care. That is the story of my life, but it’s also the story of the recording of my story. I was disappointed that He didn’t make sure the church recording of my testimony worked out, but He had a plan for me to see how much my husband loves me. And how much He loves me.

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My Blogging Anniversary: Pondering Deep Water Faith

Today is the 6th anniversary of the day I started this blog. I decided to see what I had posted that day. I’d forgotten how excited I’d been to start blogging; I posted 4 articles in that one day!

I thought I’d share one of those posts today and how things have changed since I posted it. The title of that post was “Deep Water Faith in the Shallow End,” and it said this:

I posted this awhile back in my notes on Facebook, so if you’ve read my notes you’ve seen this. But I’m having so much fun with how easy it is to blog, I thought I’d post this here, too. I can’t believe how  easy this is.

“Deep water faith in the shallow end” is a line in a song by Casting Crowns called “Somewhere in the Middle.” I’ve been listening to that CD in my car lately, and this line has really stuck in my head. As I hear it, I realize it applies to me. I have deep water faith. I trust that God can do anything and that with Him so can I. I trust that His plans for me are far greater than I can imagine, and that I will never be alone or lost as long as I follow Him.

And yet, here I stand in the shallow end of life. I don’t act on that deep water faith very often (though when I do I am amazed at the results). I wonder why I don’t just plunge into the deep end and grab hold of what God has in store.

The line of the song before this one is “reckless abandon wrapped in common sense.” Maybe that’s it. I listen too much to the common sense the world has taught me. I hear about what can’t be done and I think it to be true. I need to remember and believe that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Now that’s deep water faith.

So what’s changed since I wrote this? Well, God has literally taken me into deeper water than I ever thought I’d go when I went snorkeling in 2014, and when I snorkeled again in 2015 in even deeper waters. He did that by calling me to trust in Him, to have deep water faith. He used that literal deep water experience to teach me something about Himself and His faithfulness.

As a result, I have begun to venture into figurative deep water in other areas of my life, especially what I’ve been writing on my blog. I’ve written more about my story of suffering and pain, and how it led me to healing and redemption in Christ. God has given me the courage to share so much that I once felt I had to keep secret.

The results have been amazing blessings and a closer relationship with God. I’ll be posting about one such blessing of stepping out in faith and writing about my experience with abortion on Monday, but you’ll have to come back to see what it is.

But I still don’t think I’ve ventured into the truly deep water yet. I’m not in the shallow end anymore, but there’s still more I could write, that I know I need to write.

Last night I attended the Faith & Culture Writers Connection with guest speaker Romal Tune. One of the things he said resonated with me. He said that we are afraid to write what we fear we’ll be judged for, but that we have to remember that “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). I realized that although there are certain things I’ve been willing to share, there are other things—I’ll call them the in between things—that I’ve wanted to leave out.

Then this morning I had an early morning dream—between being awakened by my husband’s alarm and finally having to get up for mine—in which I was going snorkeling, and someone I was with wanted to go out deeper. I refused, choosing to stay closer to shore in the reef area, because I was certain there were sharks in the deeper water.

And there probably are sharks in the deeper water of honesty and openness. There are those who will judge, but they don’t matter, because God has forgiven me by the blood of Christ. I will triumph “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of [my] testimony.” Revelation 12:11.

And so, I’m going to venture into the deep water over the next year. I may not jump off the boat mid-ocean, but little by little, as the Holy Spirit leads, I will go into the deep water God has called me to.

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In a Heartbeat, in a Flash

Kanzen is tending the bar today for Poetics at dVerse Poets Pub asking for poems on change. I went to a new favorite form, the Kyrielle, and decided to touch on a topic that’s been on my mind a lot lately. I wrote an in-depth post on my change of position from being staunchly pro-choice to resolutely pro-life in this post, but decided to condense the story into this poem.

In a Heartbeat, in a Flash

Out of nothing God created
Life in my womb that was sacred
A heartbeat for change was fated
Pro-choice to pro-life in a flash

There once was a life unwanted
Another small heartbeat undaunted
Reminder to my heart haunted
Pro-choice to pro-life in a flash

Mourning the loss of the second
Remember the first, God beckoned
Repent, your sin may be reckoned
Pro-choice to pro-life in a flash


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Suicide Is Not Selfish

Today, Sept. 10,  is World Suicide Prevention Day. I decided to share just a little post from my perspective.

Often we hear it said that those who commit suicide are selfish because they hurt the people they leave behind. But if you’ve ever had suicidal thoughts or tried to commit suicide, you know that is not the case. (If you never have, it is very difficult to understand.)

I’ve only been truly suicidal once, but my thoughts were far from selfish. At the time, my actual thought was that my husband and son would be better off without me because I was so depressed and broken that I was no good to them.

Thoughts of suicide often follow a long pattern of trying to get well with little or no success. It stems from hopelessness and a sense of feeling like you are a burden to those around you. To consider suicide is to desire to unburden others.

Unfortunately, the thought processes of a person who is suicidal are just simply wrong. I know mine were. I can’t imagine where my husband and son (who was 1 ½ then and is 20 now) would be if I had gone through with it. They certainly would not be better off. That thought was a lie.

There is always hope, even when things seem the most hopeless. What a person struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts needs is love and hope. They need understanding and reassurance that the rest of us would not be better off if they were gone. They need to know we are there for them and that they matter to someone.

They need to know that God loves them and wants what is best for them, and that “This too shall pass.” But in the meantime, we are there to be a shoulder to cry on and a heart to confide in.

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The Wedding Is Only the Beginning

Today is the first Haibun Monday at dVerse Poets Pub. We were supposed to keep the prose portion of our haibun to two paragraphs and focus on nature. I started with nature but expanded my offering to God’s purpose for marriage.

The Wedding Is Only the Beginning

The sunlight trickled through the pine trees onto the wedding party dressed in sky blue and cream. It had been raining a mere 20 minutes earlier—always a risk for an outdoor wedding in the Pacific Northwest. But now everything was sunshine and smiles as the keyboardist played Here Comes the Sun while the flower girls held signs that said “Here comes your bride.” It was a reminder that into every life—and every marriage—both rain and sunshine will come.

Sitting in that sacred forest place, I was reminded of my own wedding 29-years-less-one-day before. My bridesmaid and the best man were dressed in sky blue, and the sun was shining that day, too, trickling through the stained glass windows of the church. There was no rain that day, but there’s been rain and storms since. But also plenty of beautiful, happy sunny days. Lots of love and grace and forgiveness. After all, a truly successful marriage—whether the wedding is outdoors or in—is the union of two people committed to actively loving one another and forgiving whenever necessary.

Say “I do” freely
with intent to forever
keep your promises


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I’m Not Ready — Dual Dodoitsu

My first dodoitsu, a Japanese poetry form new to me that I learned earlier this week from Kanzen Sakura. I’m sharing it today for dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night #154.

I’m Not Ready

I am not ready
for autumn at all, pumpkin
spice everywhere, and rainfall
I guess at least there is soup

And here’s my second, because as I wrote the first sort of humorous one, a more serious poem came to mind as I thought of the memorial service I’ll be attending this afternoon for the wife of my old boss. I’m sure he was not ready for her to go.

I’m Not Ready

I am not ready
for her to be gone from me
but I know she was at peace
ready to fly away home


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The Whole Story — from Pro-Choice to Pro-Life in a Heartbeat

In October of 2012, I wrote my first ever post on the issue of abortion. You can read it here, but I’ll tell you right now it’s not the whole story. When I wrote it, I thought it would be not only my first, but also my last post on the subject. But apparently God had other ideas and has led me to be more open about my whole story. This post is almost the same as that post, only updated with the information I left out three years ago.

I have long wanted to avoid the subject of abortion because no matter how I approach it, there is bound to be someone who takes offense and reads something into what I’ve written that was not what I intended. It is a subject that is typically “discussed” with sound bites, statistics, and angry one-liners, especially on social media.

In the end, I’ve decided to write about this subject in terms of my own story (finally the whole story) as well as adding a bit of a book review in the mix.

For much of my life I was strongly pro-choice. I even attended a NARAL rally with my sister in Portland, Oregon many years ago. I was (and still am) a strong proponent of a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her own body; and I used to believe that making sure a woman could have an abortion any time she chose to (regardless of her age) was the best way to protect that right.

When you’ve had an abortion, it’s kind of hard (but not impossible) to take any other position. To do so means that you must admit that the choice you made was wrong. And no one wants to be wrong or admit that what they’ve done is truly, morally wrong. When you’ve been between a rock and a hard place, young and pregnant by a rapist, with everyone telling you the best thing to do is to just “terminate the pregnancy”—They don’t say that the best thing to do is “kill your child” because that just sounds callous—it’s hard to tell someone else to choose differently.

Even after I was baptized and became a Christian, I continued to be pro-choice. I grew closer to God and He helped me overcome the depression and feelings of worthlessness I struggled with. I came to understand that He knew everything about me and loved me anyway. Life was good, and I was still pro-choice.

But something happened that changed my heart and mind on abortion. My son was five years old at the time and I found out I was pregnant. My husband and I were thrilled because we had been trying to get pregnant with our second child for four years. We were so excited that we told everyone when I was only six-weeks along.

About a week later I started having some spotting so I went to see the nurse practitioner at my doctor’s office. She sent me for an ultrasound. I had never had an ultrasound before except when I was almost nine months along with my son, so I was not really prepared for what I saw. The ultrasound technician pointed out my little baby and his or her heartbeat on the monitor. The baby was very small, but the human shape and the beating heart were unmistakable.

Unfortunately, the ultrasound also revealed that my placenta was tearing away from the uterine wall. I was directed to go home and rest, and I hoped that it would heal and all would be okay. Two days later I had a miscarriage.

In my grief over the loss of this child I cried out to God, but I found comfort in the thought that someday I would meet my little baby in heaven. “You’ll be meeting both of your children in heaven,” I heard God reply.

Suddenly I realized how hypocritical and illogical it was to mourn the loss of this child only seven weeks after his or her conception while simultaneously believing that to abort my first child at the same stage of development involved only the my body. I realized that what Dr. Seuss once said through the words of Horton the Elephant was true: “A person’s a person no matter how small.

Several years later a friend loaned me a book titled Won by Love by Norma McCorvey. It is her autobiography as Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade. She tells the story of how she became the poster child for the pro-choice movement, worked in an abortion clinic, and was ultimately won over by love to the realization that abortion was not a right worth fighting for. Her story is heartbreaking and compelling. In her first-hand recounting of her time working in an abortion clinic, Norma exposes the truth that abortion clinics and doctors were more concerned about their bottom lines than about the health and care of women facing crisis. Her story is worth reading.

Then when my son was in the eighth grade he took a communications class in which he was required to prepare and present a pro-life persuasive speech on the abortion issue. As he worked on his speech he shared with me the research he had found in the school’s article database. “Women who have an abortion with their first pregnancy are 30% to 40% more likely to suffer from depression, attempt to or successfully commit suicide, and to get breast cancer than women who brought their first pregnancy to term. Good thing you had me,” he said.

My heart sank. I said I agreed with him what a good thing it was, but I knew he was not my first child. I knew I had become part of the statistics in two of the three categories he listed because I had aborted my first child. But I couldn’t tell him that. (At least not then).

I don’t know if knowing the statistics my son found for his research would have changed my decision when I was seventeen. All of the facts, statistics, and rhetoric in the world will never be enough to change a person’s position on this issue. My position was changed by love—by the love I felt for my lost child and the love of God. Norma McCorvey’s position was changed by the love of the folks at Operation Rescue that moved in next door to the abortion clinic she worked at and the love of God. Ultimately it is love that will win the day in the battle for the lives of unborn children who have no voice of their own and their mothers who need healing


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