Alex’s Last Day

Today was Alexandra’s last day of High school. All that stuff about “where does the time go?” and “How can she be this big?” Yep, I’m totally feelin’ that.

She’s so beautiful and I’m so proud to be her mom.

momanddaughter

We listened to Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen.
We cried.
I remembered that same good cry with my mom on the way from Iron Mountain to Marquette, only we were listening to Rod Stuart’s Forever Young. Same cry, different song.

She’s going to miss her teachers.
They were the kind of teachers they make movies about and I suppose she’s the kind of kid that makes them keep on teaching.

We went Chinese, a tradition we’ve upheld since her first “last day of school” in Kindergarten.
Her fortune was Engrish. As always, that’s so funny you learn how much rice hurts coming out of your nose.
We opened gifts that will be perfect in her dorm.
Now, she’s gone to Detroit for the weekend and we are both trying to practice that feeling of her in Detroit and me here.

We are practicing Detachment.
How Zen.
Do you think Zen monks weep?
We sure do.

I read an article from Erma Bombeck which likens our children to kites. We let out more and more twine until they fly away on their own. I guess that’s true in a way, but I don’t expect we will ever really, fully let go and here’s why:

As I reach my hand out from Alex, the hand of the Lord is what I grab. As she lets go of mine, she’s in her own way and time, doing the very same thing. So then, even when we have to step back, even way back that we don’t touch even finger-tips, maybe can’t even sense the nearness of the other, we will sense His closeness and I’m betting that will be enough.

Because
it always is.

#BringBackOurGirls

 

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Friends, as you likely know, on April 15 over two hundred girls were abducted from a Nigerian school. It’s believed that they are being sold as wives by a Islamic terrorist organization. As it turns out, most of the girls were from a Nigerian Brethren church.We need to unite. If the government and media are going to basically ignore living, breathing children who are in danger, while spending resources to search of a plane full of dead bodies on the oceans bottom, then let the church rise up. As a member of the Brethren church and a former Mission Rep for them, I wanted to share with you this email I received from our brothers and sister in Nigeria. Here is the email and what THEY are asking US to do. PLEASE HELP #bringbackourgirls. 

This is the letter. Please SHARE. If you have taken (or will take today) any of these step, please post in the comments below.

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ACTION ALERT
 

Bring Back Our Girls:
Praying and Advocating for Peace in Nigeria

May 5, 2014

As many of you know, three weeks ago, over 200 girls (many of them EYN Brethren) were kidnapped from their school in Chibok, Nigeria, by Boko Haram, an Islamic sect in northern Nigeria violently seeking a ‘pure’ Islamic state.

It has been reported that around 40 girls escaped a few days after their kidnapping but subsequent news stories about the remaining girls’ conditions or whereabouts have been incomplete at best. But it has been speculated that these girls were targeted and kidnapped so that they could become ‘slave brides’ of some of Boko Haram’s members, and on Monday May 5th, a video was released of purported Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau saying “God instructed me to sell them, they are his properties and I will carry out his instructions”.

This is deplorable and absolutely unacceptable. Nigerian Brethren have been living under the threat of violence for many years, and this mass kidnapping by Boko Haram is just the latest example of the true fear our Nigerian brothers and sisters have to live with every day.

It is high time that our sisters be brought home from captivity and that all of our Nigerian brothers and sisters experience some measure of peace in their land. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and the Nigerian authorities have done very little for the kidnapped girls’ release so far, and have not heeded the calls for help from the girls’ families, and many Nigerians have taken to the streets to protest this lack of action.

We must join in solidarity with them. We must pray and we must act.

Last week a bipartisan group of Senators introduced Senate Resolution 433 condemning the kidnapping and calling upon the US and Nigeria to work together to promote women’s rights, security of schools, assistance in rescuing and reintegrating the girls, among other things. At this time asking your Senator to support this resolution is a critical action that can make a difference in Nigeria. The more that your Senators hear from you, the more officials from the US State Department and from the Obama administration will hear from them, and this will help our American leaders see Nigeria and the kidnapped girls as a priority.

We must lift up our voices and remember that each of us are members of one body, brought together by Christ (Ephesians 2: 16-18). We are connected to one another by this Jesus we follow, and it is Jesus who proclaims freedom to the prisoners and release of the oppressed (Luke 4: 18-19). These kidnapped Nigerian girls are our sisters and we must stand in solidarity with them and with our Lord.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” —Luke 4:18-19

CALL TO PRAYER AND FASTING: The leaders of EYN have asked us to enter into a season of prayer and fasting for the wellbeing of the girls and the Nigerian people. We must stand in solidarity with our Nigerian brothers and sisters and remember that our God is a God of the oppressed and powerless. When all hope is lost, our God can find a way out of the wilderness.

TALK WITH YOUR PASTOR AND CONGREGATION: Bring up this issue with your pastor and share this action alert with your congregation. The more people who respond to the alert, the better chance our collective voice is heard by our leaders. Also, later this week a letter will be mailed to each congregation with the name of one of the schoolgirls who was abducted, in order to invite each congregation to engage in focused prayer. Attached to the letter will be a list of names of the girls whom we know about at this time, received from EYN’s liaison officer.

ADVOCACY ACTION: Click here to find and contact your Senators
E-mail or call your Senators today and tell them to co-sponsor Senate Resolution 433 and to ask Secretary of State Kerry to put pressure on Nigeria to:

  • Peacefully work for the release of all of the kidnapped girls, give heed to the calls of their families for help, and work with neighboring countries to bring the girls back home,
  • Put in place measures to protect schools and students from becoming victims of violence and human trafficking
  • Begin “just policing” practices that would help address some of the security concerns of both Christian and Muslim communities
  • Support efforts of moderate Muslim leaders and concerned Christians to work together toward peace and renew good relations between neighbors of different backgrounds.

*NOTE: This past week, we spoke with and heard from State Department officials about the work in Nigeria that the Bureau of Conflict Stabilization Operations is doing, but we must encourage all parts of the US government to support our sisters and brothers in Nigeria.

This tragedy will not be solved overnight, and the work of building peace in Nigeria will be long, but we must have hope in the fact that we have a persistent and faithful Lord who will not abandon us. We must continue to do what we can here at home while praying for our Nigerian sisters and brothers abroad. We must take heart in the fact that the Prince of Peace is with us always, to the end of the age.

In Christ’s peace,

Nathan Hosler, Coordinator

Bryan Hanger, Advocacy Assistant

Church of the Brethren Office of Public Witness

***NOTE: This action is just one part of the Church of the Brethren’s ongoing response to the situation in Nigeria. Be on the lookout for future news releases or opportunities to support our brothers and sisters in Nigeria. To give to the EYN Compassion Fund that aids pastors families and others who have lost loved ones or suffered from the violence in Nigeria, go to www.brethren.org/EYNcompassion

Super healthy {Often Veggie} Freezer to Crock Pot Meals-Week 2!

imageSuper Healthy {Mostly Veggie} Freezer to Crock Pot Dinners
Week Two

Crock Pot Ginger Orange Chicken!!!
Ingredients:
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced about 1/2-inch thick
2 large red or green bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
8 ounces orange juice concentrate
2 cups Mandarin orange segments or fresh orange segments
2 Green onions, chopped
hot cooked rice Directions:
Put carrots, peppers, garlic, then the chicken, ginger, salt, pepper & frozen orange juice in Crockpot. Cover and cook on LOW 4 to 6 hours. Serve chicken on hot cooked rice on platter. Top with orange segments and green onions. Serve chicken liquid in gravy boat, if desired


Crockpot Minestrone Soup!!!

Ingredients
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
4 cups chicken broth
1 medium baking potato, peeled and diced
1/2 cup each chopped onion, carrot and celery
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 (16 oz) can cannellini beans, rinsed
1 medium size zucchini, diced
1 cup frozen cut green beans, thawed
1/3 cup pesto

Directions:

1. Mix all ingredients except the cannellini beans, zucchini, green beans and pesto into a
4 quart or larger size crockpot.

2. Cover and cook on LOW 7 to 9 hours or until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender.

3. Stir in the cannellini beans, zucchini and green beans. Cover and cook on HIGH 15 minutes,
or until zucchini is tender.

4. Spoon into bowls and top with pesto.


Crock Pot Chicken Shwarma!!!

From the pantry, you’ll need: chicken breasts, garlic, salt, shwarma seasoning (or ground allspice), lemon, olive oil.
Ingredients
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2-1/2 lbs)
4 cloves garlic, sliced, plus 4 cloves mashed (or garlic paste from a jar)
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp ground allspice or shwarma seasoning
1 Tbsp lemon zest
Juice of 1 lemon
3 Tbsp olive oil
Directions

Place chicken and all of the marinade in a 3- or 4-quart slow cooker.

Cook on HIGH for 2-1/2 hours (or on LOW for 5 hours), until the chicken breaks apart easily. (If you’re home, stir the chicken once or twice during the cooking time.) Remove the chicken from the cooker; use two forks to shred it, and return the shredded chicken to the cooker. Stir to combine with the liquid. Cover, and continue cooking on HIGH for 15 minutes.

Turn the cooker off and let the chicken sit, covered, for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice; it will continue to absorb any excess liquid in the cooker.

Pour the chicken and any liquid into a container. Cover and cool at room temperature. Serve the chicken with pita bread, chopped lettuce and tomato, and your favorite buttermilk ranch-style salad dressing or plain yoghurt and cucumber.


Crock Pot Thai red curry tofu!!!

From the pantry, you’ll need: canola oil,garlic, red curry paste, lime, brown sugar, fish sauce, coconut milk.

Serves 4-6.
Ingredients

2 tsp canola oil
1 Package Tofu cubed and pressed
1 clove garlic, minced
4 scallions, white and green parts sliced
1 red bell pepper, diced
½ cup celery
Peas
Green Beans
2 tsp red curry paste, or more to taste
Juice of 1 lime
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp fish sauce
6 oz coconut milk
Cooked white, brown or basmati rice (optional)
Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish (optional)
Directions
Add the garlic, scallions, bell pepper, curry paste, lime juice, sugar and fish sauce. Stir to combine. Cook low 4-6 hours
Then, turn the cooker to HIGH and add the coconut milk and tofu. Stir, and cook for 30 minutes.

Serve hot, over rice (or in lettuce cups), garnished with cilantro. Or, allow to cool, and refrigerate for up to 1 week.

Crock Pot Tomale Pie!!!

Ingredients
1 pound ground turkey
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes with mild green chilies, undrained
1 can (11 ounces) whole kernel corn, drained
1 can (10 ounces) enchilada sauce
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
1 package (8-1/2 ounces) corn bread/muffin mix
2 eggs
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Mexican cheese blend
Plain Greek yoghurt and additional minced fresh cilantro, optional

Add meat, beans, tomatoes, corn, enchilada sauce, onions and cilantro. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until heated through.
In a small bowl, combine muffin mix and eggs; spoon over meat mixture. Cover and cook 1 hour longer or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
Sprinkle with cheese; cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve with sour cream and additional cilantro if desired.


Chopping List

5 carrots
3 red (or green) peppers
12 cloves of garlic
1 potato
1 large onion
7 stalks of celery
1 medium zucchini

Almost veggie week of crock-pot meals!

One healthy week in the freezer and ready for the crock pot!

One healthy week in the freezer and ready for the crock pot!


If you are like me, you are one busy working mama who BEGS for just a LITTLE down-time in your day!
Can I get a witness?
You’ve also likely been seeing all these cool pins about a “weeks worth of meals” but after investigation you think “Nice, BUT we don’t eat like that.”
Well, here’s a little help friend! Last night I created ALL THIS healthy goodness in about an hours time. Now, all I to do before work is empty a bad into the pot and let it do it’s magic while I get home from work out take a load OFF for once!

Enjoy and here’s to your happy healthy family!
God bless and let me know if you do it and how it works for YOU!

CILANTRO LIME CHICKEN
in the bag:
3 chicken breasts
juice from 2 limes
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 (16 oz) bag corn
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp cumin
salt and pepper
to cook:
cook on low for 8 hours
shred meat and serve in tortillas
garnish with sour cream, salsa and grated cheese, if desired

Chick pea curry
2 tbsp organic cooking oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
3 cups cooked chickpeas (2 15 oz. cans chickpeas). If using canned beans, reserve the liquid to add to the pot.
Optional: 1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp garam masala
Salt to taste
Directions:

When using canned beans, don’t drain the beans. Add the beans PLUS liquid to the cooking pot. 2 – 4 hours. And you can cook it on high.

Veggie lasagna
Ingredients
2 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes, drained
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh oregano, chopped
kosher salt and pepper
1 15-ounce container ricotta
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
8 ounces whole wheat lasagna noodles (not no-boil)
1 bunch Swiss chard, tough stems removed and torn into small pieces (7 cups)
12 ounces mozzarella, grated
Directions
In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, garlic, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. In another medium bowl, combine the ricotta, parsley, Parmesan, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Spoon 1/3 cup of the tomato mixture into the bowl of a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker. Top with a single layer of noodles, breaking them to fit as necessary. Add half the Swiss chard. Dollop with a third of the ricotta mixture and a third of the remaining tomato mixture. Sprinkle with a third of the mozzarella.
Add another layer of noodles and repeat with the other ingredients. Finish with a layer of noodles and the remaining ricotta mixture, tomato mixture, and mozzarella.
Set the slow cooker to low and cook, covered, until the noodles are tender, 3 to 4 hours. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Crock Pot Corn quinoa chowder

Ingredients:

3/4 cup quinoa
1 – 2 Tbsp olive oil
2 medium potatoes
16 oz pkg frozen corn kernels OR 4 ears fresh corn on the cob
4 cups vegetarian soup stock or water
1 cup chopped green beans
1 celery stalk, diced
1/2 lg red pepper, diced
2 – 3 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded
1 tsp gr coriander
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp dried oregano leaf
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaf
1 bay leaf
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro OR 2 scallions sliced, tender greens & whites
More Heat: Add 1/8 – 1/4 tsp chipotle pepper powder
Directions:

Soak the quinoa 5 minutes
Rinse then drain into a colander
Peel & mince the garlic, jalapeno and ginger
Wash and trim the celery, slice lengthwise, then crosswise to dice
Seed and dice the red pepper
Peel and chop the potatoes in bite sized pieces
If using fresh corn, peel and slice the kernels off the cobs
Combine all ingredients except corn & cilantro or scallions in a large crockpot
Cover and cook on low for 3 – 4 hours
Turn heat to high, add the fresh or frozen corn kernels, and cook for another 1/2 hour
Stir in the cilantro or scallions, salt & pepper to taste, and serve

Curried Veggies

1/2 onion-diced
3 cloves garlic-diced
2 tbs butter
1/2 c yellow curry paste
1 1/2 c veggie broth
2 potatoes-cubed
4 med carrots-cubed
1 can chick peas
1 package tempeh-cubed
1 can coconut milk
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tbs Sriracha
1/4 tsp ground mustard
1 bag frozen peas

Add everything except the coconut milk and peas to the crock pot on high. Set the crock pot for 4 hours and sit back and wait.

About a half hour before the time is up add the coconut milk and half the frozen peas. The sauce will thicken and the peas with warm up – be sure not to over cook the peas!

Serve over rice

Spinach artichoke dip casserole

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 ½ cup half-and-half or veggie broth
1 tablespoon onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 (10 ounce) bag frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 (13 ounce) can quartered artichoke hearts, rinsed drained and chopped
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
2/3 cup monterey jack cheese, shredded
Whole wheat pasta (or rice or quinoa pasta)
Directions:

1
Combine cream cheese and half and half in a bowl until well blended.
2
Add all ingredients except monterey jack and stir well.
3
Pour mixture into crock pot, cook on high for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until warmed through.
4
Sprinkle with monterey jack and enjoy!

Take-Out, Fake-Out: Chicken & Broccoli {Crockpot}

Yield: 4 servings | Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 6 hours and 30 minutes*

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb. boneless chicken (or tempe), sliced into thin strips

1 cup veg broth

1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce or braggs

1/3 cup dark brown sugar

1 tbsp. sesame oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 tbsp. cornstarch

4 tbsp. sauce (from the crockpot after dish is cooked)

Frozen broccoli florets (as many as desired, I believe I used almost 2 cups)

Brown rice, cooked

INSTRUCTIONS:

In the insert of the crockpot, whisk together beef consume, soy sauce, dark brown sugar, sesame oil, and garlic.
Gently place your slices of beef in the liquid and toss to coat.
Turn crockpot on low and cook for 6 hours.
When done, in a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and cooking liquid and pour into crockpot, stir to mix well. Cook on low for an additional 30 minutes to thicken up the sauce.
Toss in your broccoli florets then serve hot over brown rice.

Totals to chop up first:
Garlic 13 cloves
Onion 2 medium
Potato 4 medium
Carrot 4
1 cup green beans
1 celery stalk
1/2 lg red pepper

My everything is cold

 

Everyone in Arizona, California, Florida and places like that, God bless ya.

I’m not mad at you for being warm.

To my brothers and sister who are freezing cold right now, can we have a moment?

I need to vent.

Oh Lord, how these long winters can chill my bones.

Everyone I KNOW wants to hide under heaps of blankets and cry…

Drink cocoa and cry…

Pet our puppies and snuggle our kittens while looking out our windows to cry.

Enough. I’m not trying to be mellow dramatic, here.

This is the truth and anyone who’s living where it’s been 10* for a month knows it all too well.

Now, I’m a grateful girl.

I am. I tend to see the glass and half full…

Heck…I’ll see a half full glass and 3/4 but this, well…the water is ICE.

And it’s not cute anymore.

I’ve taken the kids sledding and skating and skiing.

We’ve made an igloo…a boss one.

We’ve made our snow angles.

We’ve worn our cute sweaters.

Enough.

Thanks for playing.

Check

Please.

Even the adorable trend of leg warmers and boots is not enough to make me want to hang with you for one more week, let alone a month…more…much more.

Yeesh!

I wish I could write some eloquent sonnet on grace for the winter, but for real…

I’m not even kidding…

My bones hurt. My brain hurts. My butt…I can’t even FEEL it anymore.

I know that there is a time fore everything and all that jazz about “going inward” and what is happening beneath the surface. I love that, I get it. I agree.

But going to the grocery store should not  be a Cross-fit workout.

The end.

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my big but

if you’re a church kid, i bet you can hear the sound of hands clapping in rhythm, at just the mention of the words “and if our god is for us” clap clap clap “then who could ever stop us” clap clap clap  “and if our god is with us” clap clap clap “that what could stand against” clap clap clap clap.

we know the song.

we raise our hands.

we shout “yes, lord”

do we know it’s true- i mean, for real.

for my part, any way- it’s a struggle.

not believing that the good lord had my back (and front and side to side) but to know he is unstoppable.

if i honestly answer that question: what could ever stop us….for my part any way, an answer would be…me.

i can stop us…i can sure stop me.

what do you mean “i can stop me”? aren’t you clapping and singing right along at church? yep.

don’t you believe what god says in his word? yep. sure do.

but…

 it’s not just fitness magazines that try to shame the big butt….i want to banish the big but when it comes to believing and trusting god.

example: i trust the lord for my friends healing, but…she’s still sick.

or

i trust the lord can restore my friends marriage, but…she’s crying her eyes out tonight.

or

i feel god is calling me to submit to my husbands authority, but…i want to tell him what time it is.

or

i know that t.v. show is wrong for my kids to watch, but…everyone in the class watches it.

or

i’m excited for my book to come out, but…i’m afraid of what the church ladies will think of my messed up life.

you know what the common link is in all that mess?

me

not

trusting.

i trust you, god.

i

trust

in

you.

do you totally get what the man in mathew is on about when he says “i believe. help my disbelief.”

help us, lord.

help me to remember that as we clap clap clap my hands at church on sunday…you rejoice-

no but’s about it.

what is the sound of 1 hand clapping? i think i may be a hand raised in worshipful surrender

 and you, lord, giving a holy high 5.

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the “why” that makes me cry

about a month ago,

46 days ago to be exact,

i started doing a workout program called p90x.

it’s a fierce, very very intense at home dvd system from the evil geniuses who bring us

insanity

and

the asylum.

yep.

i started doing it because i’m what is called a “beach body coach”.

 it means i can help you find a fitness program you’ll love

 and encourage you when you feel like quitting.

first, i agree with you if you hate the name “beach body”.

feel ya.

but…

they make the best, and most effective systems and they’re really good ethical people so…

beachbody it is.

the jewel in the crown of beachbody is something called p90x. it’s nuts and long and hard and every time i do it i think i’m gonna puke.

(great salesman aren’t  i)

anyway…it’s fierce. it’s not joke and i only decided to do it so i could have some street cred with the beachbody people.

it’s a 90 program and you work out 6-7 days a week.

i smoke through days 1-30 and am feeling like a boss.

then comes

day 31.

i push play and realize i cannot do this workout.

i can not do what he’s asking of me.

it’s not even that i don’t want to…i full blown can’t.

my arms will not do that.

i’m beat. i work full-time.

i cook and clean and do homework with kids and say prayer and tuck them

and…???…

do this vicious workout?

why?

why?

why am i doing this?

i’m i doing it to have a six-pack?

not. (although i’m getting one which kinda rocks)

do i want this to be my career?

no. i host a christian radio show and i love love love it!!!

why am i doing this thing?

i’m literally saying this out loud and i’m struggling to do push up.

is it because my college friend did it?

no…i love them. remember them fondly but this is not for them.

and now i’m starting to cry and do push ups and the only thing i’m saying is

“why am i doing this?”

am i doing it for my kids? to be strong for them?

yes and no. i do need to be fit for them, but not this fit.

why?

and now my husband hears me crying like a baby or more like a pussy

and he comes up stairs and i push pause and go sit on the coach and weep my damn head off.

for real.

and i ask him, “why the hell am i doing this? i can’t do everything. i can’t do everything”

and now i’m all like “is p90x actually giving me a breakdown? really? cuz i’m not cool with that either.”

and i stop and really really pray.

“god you show me why i’m doing this. if it’s not for you, lord. if it’s not for your glory then show me and i’ll stop right now, because if it’s not healthy or it’s not for you then it is pointless.

i’m overcome by this desire to get stronger, lift more, withstand more. is it a good thing?”

and i stop and be still and listen like i used to as a kid

when you’re walking in the woods and someone tells you that the indians used to put their ear to the ground to hear people

who are far far way walking toward you.

and you try it and it works.

i listened for the lord like that. like a kid with my ear to the ground.

and i did hear him.

are at least i hear him echo.

and the echo, well it sounded like a memory.

the memory of a story i heard.

if you know me, you know part of it.

it’s weird and true and the best way to share it is just to rip it off like band-aid

and just

spit it out.

my mom and dad were killed in a tornado.

as far and anyone knows, my dad was killed instantly but, as it turns out, mom lived for a little while.

in the first few years after the tornado, i didn’t really know the details of the after math.

so my brain made up details and the details it made up were so awful and full of screams and blood and gore, that i just went ahead and scoured the records for names and number of people who were actually there. who knew the truth. and i called them and interviewed them.

the neighbor who found mom and covered her with a blanket, the neighbor who spoke with her and realized her voice box was broken,

“what did she say?”, i asked.

this was my block

“she said, “this is how i sleep.” he answered and her voice was so low it was barely human sounding”, he replied, “she was like a rag doll”

strangely this  account gives me comfort, because if she was in pain she would have said something like, “help” or “my back”

she said, “this is how i sleep.” which were probably here last words.

i interviewed the e.m.t. who saw her in the rubble and passed her by.

i couldn’t believe it when he told me.

“what do you mean you passed her by? she was dying!”

“exactly. she was dying. there was no way to save her and that was obvious. we are there to help people who have a chance of surviving.”

“couldn’t you have just sat with her? prayed with her or something”

emt workers carry out mom or dad

“no . there was a baby trapped in the debris of the house down the block. we had to find that baby.”

this was the conversation that came back to me

 when i was falling apart on the couch

 and wondering why i’m pushing play on this torture chamber of a workout.

and it hits me.

i am doing this because i want to be able to lift the beam.

if i’m ever called upon to, i want to be able to do it.

to lift it, push it, carry it.

it’s important.

it’s important to me.

and then, i think about the cross-the beam that christ lifted for me, so save me from the wreckage.

and now i want to do it for him.

for real.

the kid, by the way was 10 months old.

move that wall

                                              his name was nicholas stein and according to the local newspaper he was ” found blissfully playing beneath a door in the ravaged house and suffered only bumps and scrapes.”

i tried to find nick on facebook.

i didn’t find him.

i guess his parents are wise enough not to allow the now 13 or 14-year-old onto the site.

i’m not sure what i’d say to him, if anything.

i think, i’d just pray over his picture.

and then…

well….i’d pop in my darned dvd and push play

and lift.

i’d lift heavy.