Monday, June 28, 2010

Holding Hands

For Father’s Day I always love to do a little photo shoot at the beach with the children and their Daddy. Now that we have three children, getting a good photo of all of them seems impossible! I often have an idea in my head of an image I want to capture and somehow forcing that moment to happen only makes for a terrible picture! These pictures are precious, even though I don’t have the full attention of all the children!
As I’ve looked at the series of photos, I’ve noticed the different postures of the children. They remind me of myself while walking through life holding God’s hand. Sometimes I’m holding on for dear life, terrified of the path ahead of me. Sometimes I’m looking back at where I’ve been, perhaps stuck in the past. And still other times I’m able to look out at the beauty around me, completely content and safe in His presence. I guess what is most beautiful to me is that although each child is doing their own thing, not cooperating for mommy’s dream photo!!!, they are all holding hands with their father. Perhaps that is the most important thing – that we remain holding God’s hand throughout life - knowing that the mere strength of His hand will bring our focus back when we’re distracted; the very warmth of His hand will comfort us when we’re afraid of the path we’re on; the massive size of His hand that seems to envelope ours gives us the security to relax and enjoy life. No matter your season of life, there is nothing better than holding God's hand as you journey on.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I was once told, “Responsibility is the great developer of people.” I had just finished my junior year in college and was working at a camp in Northern Wisconsin. This camp was different from any camp I’ve ever worked at because their focus was not on the campers, it was on the staff. The purpose of this camp was to develop college students into leaders through camping ministry. I remember being shocked at the responsibilities I was given that summer. Not only did I think I could not handle the tasks being asked of me, (like leading wilderness trips with 11 year old kids for 3 days – no cell phones, no trails, using a map and compass, no camping stoves…) but I wondered how safe parents felt with me taking care of their children in the wilderness! A month before the campers arrived, we were in training. We went out on our first backpack trip and I remember seeing our packs resting up against a tree as the truck let us off in the middle of the woods. I bent down to put on my pack and it seemed to weigh more than I did. I could barely stand up. After trying to hike for about 15 minutes, I told our guide, “I can’t do this.” I remember his response vividly, “You can do it, and you will.” A little shocked and offended, I stood still as he removed a few items from my pack and placed them in his own. It was a very tough trip, but he was right - I could do it and I did!
It is so easy to underestimate ourselves, to give up when we still have more to give, or to admit defeat before we’ve even started. But often times when we are challenged with great responsibility, we rise to meet the challenge in ways we didn’t think possible. The weight of responsibility placed on my shoulders that summer was great. At the beginning I wasn’t sure my body could bear the load. But by the end of the summer I was taking things out of my campers packs and placing them in my own. Much was asked of me that summer, and so I grew.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Happy Father's Day

Father. What a profound title to bear. It holds such weight and power, force and presence. Whereas my father carries all that, I prefer to call him Papa Bear or Daddy because in the midst of his strong presence, he is a great cuddler, never shys away from telling me he loves me or how proud he is of me, and he is always available to me. I know most kids think their dad is the best, but mine truly is! There is little to nothing that my Dad does not know, cannot fix, or won’t do to help his family and friends. One of my Dad’s famous phrases is, “you do it once and you do it right.” That pretty much sums up my Father! He does everything in his life with excellence.
I will never be able to fully express my gratitude for all my Dad has given to me. Because of my Dad, I love to travel, love good food, and try to do everything to the absolute best of my ability. My Father is an amazing man who has a fine resume that includes the entrepreneur of a successful company, fierce water skier, champion Swiss Platzgen player, puzzle master, Christmas tree light hanger extraordinaire, motorcyclist, race car enthusiast, pianist, guitar player, and the list goes on! But his most successful accomplishment is a marriage of 40+ years, 2 children who love and respect him, and 3 grandchildren that adore their Papa.
Happy Father’s Day Daddy.
I love you, -Your Sunshine
PHOTOS: Top - When my Dad first saw me in my wedding dress on my wedding day. I love that he looks speechless. I remember that moment like it was yesterday. It think I was only more nervous for my groom to see me!
Middle - my Daddy putting on my pearl necklace that he bought me in Japan when I was a child.
Bottom - my Dad surprised me for the Father Daughter Dance and played his guitar while dancing with me like he did when I was a little girl.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


I’ve heard some say that when we have children, we should lower our expectations. That didn’t sit well with me as I think we can expect much of them, challenge them, respect their ability to learn and grow beyond what we think. But I’ve begun to realize that I do need to lower my expectations a bit in order to truly honor my children in their current stage of life – childhood! They don’t understand the concept of time. They don’t know what “next week,” “next month,” “in five minutes,” or “hurry” means. They can’t totally grasp how their Daddy is also my husband and their Papa is my Daddy! They can’t comprehend why they can’t use my sharp knives, carry their brother around, or stir boiling water on the stove. When it comes to lowering expectations, I need to shift my expectations of my children in the sense that I need to expect them to do things as children do and not as adults. Because they don’t understand time, yelling at them to hurry up when we’re late for school means nothing. They just don’t get it and I can’t expect them to yet! I’m learning that lowering expectations isn’t a lazy or negative thing. It simply means viewing situations and circumstances through the eyes of a 4 or 1 year old who is experiencing the world for the very first time. They have no prior experience.
My daughter just came in and interrupted me:
“When I’m 46 can I have my birthday? And remember, I want a flamingo birthday!”
Enough said! They’re children and all too soon they’ll grasp time, relationships and danger. For now I’m going to expect them to be children and start planning that flamingo birthday party!!

Sunday, June 13, 2010


I can’t put my finger on it, but what make life more simple in a small town? People are people wherever you go with the same fears, same problems, same insecurities… So why are things slower, more simple and somewhat peaceful in a small town? A few days in a small town in the Midwest allowed me to take a deep breath and be quiet. People smiled, drove slowly, waved, and opened conversations with total strangers (me!). My cousin was so calm with her 4 children ages 4 and under (the youngest being 3 month old twins!), and I wondered why am I not more calm with my little ones? I take full responsibility for the chaos in my life. Some like to blame Los Angeles traffic, the media, or the abundance of choices we daily face. But, I think I’m mostly responsible for taking the simple and making it complicated. It’s a matter of focusing on what truly matters, being true to oneself, and having a firm foundation that is not shaken by society. That can happen in a big city or a small town.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Something Greater Than Myself

I recently returned from Michigan where I attended my Grandmother’s funeral. It was a blessed trip - nice to see family that I don’t see often, and a wonderful and necessary time of saying goodbye to my Grandmother. Prior to traveling, I was telling my husband that my Grandma was the only grandparent of ours that ever got to meet our children. As I cried I had this overwhelming feeling of being small and unanchored. Without my Grandma, we only have our parents to go back to. I felt like I was missing something greater than myself,
greater than just the generation before me.
The day after my Grandma’s service I was driving to her home through the corn, beans, and beet fields. Even though it was pouring rain, I was enjoying all the old barns that I passed by. Tears began to run down my face like the rain streaming down my windshield. I felt once again this sense of missing something greater than myself. I ached with the longing for older wisdom and experience, someone who had seen more of life than me and could offer words of hope and encouragement. Just then “Creed” by Rich Mullens came on the radio.
"I believe in God the Father almighty
Maker of Heaven and Maker of Earth
And in Jesus Christ
His only begotten Son, our Lord
He was conceived by the Holy Spirit
Born of the virgin Mary
Suffered under Pontius Pilate
He was crucified and dead and buried
And I believe what I believe
Is what makes me what I am
I did not make it, no it is making me
It is the very truth of God and not
The invention of any man
I believe that He who suffered
Was crucified, buried, and dead
He descended into hell and
On the third day, rose again
He ascended into Heaven where
He sits at God's mighty right hand
I believe that He's returning to
Judge the quick and the dead
Of the sons of men
I believe it, I believe it
I believe it
I believe it, I believe it
I believe in God the Father almighty
Maker of Heaven and Maker of Earth
And in Jesus Christ His only begotten Son,
Our Lord
I believe in the Holy Spirit
One Holy Church, the communion of Saints
The forgiveness of sin
I believe in the resurrection
I believe in a life that never ends"
Yes, there is something greater than myself and it is not just the generations who’ve gone before me. The God I believe in is much greater than me and he is my anchor. He is who makes me who I am. He is my source of wisdom and experience. He is my promised hope for the future and the future generations.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Leave A Legacy

I talked to my mom this morning and she told me that my Grandma had passed away a few hours ago. She is in heaven with Jesus, what she had longed for her whole life.
When I went back to visit my Grandma a month ago, my mom and I went to her house. In the basement there is a large counter on wheels that my Grandfather built. My mom said that they would use this to entertain. My Grandma would have the church over for different occasions and she’d wheel the large counter out to serve food on and entertain with. My Grandma was always entertaining and cooking for people. As we walked through the house, neat as a pin, I kept thinking of my mom. Her home is in perfect order, she loves to entertain and does it rather well, and not a day goes by when the house is not filled with aromas of fabulous home cooked food! She is so much like her mom. Then I laugh! Whereas my home is not neat as a pin, I too love to entertain and cook for anyone that will let me! I am so much like me mom! My Grandmother has left a legacy. Not only has she passed down homemaking and entertaining, but most importantly, she has passed down a faith in Jesus Christ that is far more important than an orderly home and fine cooked meals. I’ve always said that my faith is largely due to my mother. I know that her faith as well is due to her mother who shared Christ with her family, served the church faithfully and lived everyday in the hopes of meeting Jesus face to face. As I got into the car this morning to take my daughters to school, I was crying. My little girls asked me what was wrong? “Great Grandma just died,” I said. Then one said, “We need to pray for Great Grandma”… and the next generation of believing women has begun.


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