figuring it out


I remember feeling sick to my stomach with nervousness in the hour leading up to walking down the aisle.  The pictures show me no radiant, beaming, blushing bride.  I ugly cried all the way down the hill, overwhelmed by the meaning and depth of such occasion.  Side-by-side with my soon to be husband, I remember standing mortified and completely embarrassed by the pastor, wearing a sweater-like cape in the sweltering heat, swinging around a monstrous meat cleaver.  I strangely, oddly, remember no joy.

“Cleave to, not from.”

The words made no sense to me.  I stood there in horror, annoyed and ashamed of what all my non-Lutheran friends and family were thinking in all these uncomfortable, way too-Lutheran moments.  First the robe, and then The Lord’s Prayer.  Now this.  The meat cleaver then became the buzz of the crowd.  I’d never even heard of a meat cleaver, and had no idea why a pastor would bring a machete to the sermon of our wedding.  To this day, they still talk about it, anyone who was there as a witness.  At some point down the road, I forgave the pastor and repented of my annoyances. I now remember “The Homily” as the most profound and powerful wedding sermon I’ve ever heard in my life.

cleave:  to adhere firmly and closely or loyally and unwaveringly

cleave: to sever


I took the above picture while standing next to yet another Lutheran pastor. He’s a man of middle-age, here with his wife, who was also standing in the sun-glow beside him.  They’re visiting for the week, and I usually enjoy the conversations with visitors.  He was telling me about his daughters–once children, now grown–when he made the passing reference to a “former wife”. I had already wondered to myself, but hadn’t asked. Now I didn’t have to (not that I would have).  He’d been divorced.  She had been widowed.

There was a season in life where all our friends were getting married.  For two to three years, the Saturdays of summer were taken by weddings.  The counselors here are in that season.  There have been weekend travels of summer staff as former counselors have gone on to get married.  My brother’s former girlfriend got married this weekend, a girl we loved as we did our own sister. The same 27-year-old brother gets married next month, to the girl he has loved for over thirteen years.  We, too, love her now.


I remember a fight we had while living in the parsonage.  I was angry and exasperated, and as my husband walked out the back to go to work, I followed him out the door and yelled something loud and in pain but regrettable.  Out of the corner of my eye, I immediately saw a blur of two women standing outside the church office door. I couldn’t bring myself to look directly at them to see who it was.  I didn’t want to ever know.  Later, I asked my husband if he knew who it was (he’d had to walk over and let them in).

I still don’t know, and still don’t want to.

Something similar happened this morning, except it wasn’t women, it was counselors. They normally wouldn’t have been up so early, but they’d gotten up for sunrise boating. I wasn’t yelling out the door, but I was speaking with a loudness to be seen and be heard, something I guarantee could be translated into  “Hear me.  See me.  Know me.  Love me.  SHOW ME WHO YOU REALLY ARE SO I CAN DO THOSE THINGS FOR YOU.”  “There’s people in the office”, he told me. “I don’t care!”, I replied, and at the time, I truly didn’t.

But this morning I skipped breakfast,

too embarrassed to go and be seen,

to be seen that much after being so heard.


Love is complicated (understatement much??)

And kind of funny sometimes.

This too shall pass.




The heat finally broke this past week.

This little corner of the world has been running a fever since May.  Working at camp the first time, I think, inoculated me against the hot and humid weather.  It doesn’t seem to bother me, other than to get me dreaming about fall. The buildings here don’t have air conditioning, so you just get used to sweat dripping down your stomach while eating in the dining hall and sitting around the benches during evening trading post. It would be nice if it wasn’t oppressive at five in the morning. But you also know that day will come.

And when it comes, I celebrate with happy grins and open windows.  You can always tell where we are in the summer by the way it feels in the early mornings.  I start thinking things like, “School is going to be starting soon.”  I don’t seem to have much of a vision for the upcoming school year other than just to keep doing what we’ve been doing.   My oldest son will be entering eighth grade this year, and if things go according to the way I’ve been trying for the past two years to mentally prepare myself for them to go, this will be his last year homeschooling.  There’s a Lutheran High School here, the same one my husband attended and graduated from almost twenty years ago.

Actually, I do have a vision.  All I want to do is cherish every single moment with every single one of them.  I want to actually care about the baseball stuff he loves so much.  I want to play the board game Stratomatic with him.  I want to play catch and go out to the field and practice batting with him.  I want to actually listen to the Cardinals games on the radio always playing in the background and listen to the things he tries to tell me about them.  We’re gonna take that Memoria Press Logic course together like I said we were going to do last year, but didn’t end up doing.  I want, I wish, I love, I hope

I think we’ll both be ready now.

tell the truth

Jordan Peterson wrote this book called 12 Rules for Life that I’ve been working my way through this summer.  I’d requested it from the library several months ago, and was put on a waiting list with 72 other people ahead of me.  Since the library didn’t own their own copy of the book, they’d had to request it from another library.  At some point, they must have decided to just buy a copy for themselves, because the one I have now actually belongs to our library, which means I can renew it as much as I need until I’m done.

Does anyone actually care about anything I just wrote there?  Probably not, but for me, it was the first thing that started coming to mind when I sat down to type.  I don’t know how I feel about the book, even though I’m just about done with it.  I thought it was too long, and that Peterson went off into too many rambles.  On the other hand, I don’t see anything wrong with it.  I get the need to just get the words out, to have so much on your mind that the only way to stay sane, healthy, and whole, is to put the words somewhere. If that was the book he needed in order to tell the truth, then good for him for writing it.

Tell the truth–or at least, don’t lie.  I think of all twelve of his “rules”, this is the one that spoke to me the most, and is going to make the most difference in my life.  When Peterson talks about telling the truth, he says something along the lines of not saying anything that your inner voice would disagree with. For example, don’t say something just because that’s what you think you’re supposed to say.  I do this a lot.  I never considered it to be not telling the truth, but trying to stick with what “the truth” is, no matter what I think.  Isn’t this actually the faithful and courageous thing to do?

Not according to Peterson. Not telling the truth is destructive, and literally starts to eat you up inside, eventually eating up the outside too.  Tell the truth.  Be honest.  Sometimes though, being honest feels wrong to me, and in those cases, I don’t think you should do it.

I’ve been trying to write here and there for a Lutheran women’s blog that started a few years ago.  I appreciated the chance to be able to write in a more “official” setting, as well as get experience working with an editor.  I think that has been the best part of the whole thing.  I love seeing how collaborating with another person can make a piece so much stronger.  I’ve also been learning about give and take in the editing process, when to click “accept edit”, when to add/delete what the editor suggests, and also when to stand up for myself and say “I’d prefer to leave this part exactly as is, and here’s why…”

That being said, I’ve also had some disappointing and frustrating experiences, and I really just want to give up sometimes and be done with it, thinking it no longer to be a good or productive use of my time.  I feel a loyalty to my Lutheran sisters, and yet, at the same time, I don’t seem to be able to connect much with them.  Writing for me is still very much a therapeutic process, but when I try to formulate it into an article that other people are actually supposed to read, it comes out too different.  Or it doesn’t come at all.

One of the worst feelings I’ve had with writing for the public is when something with your name on it ends up saying something, no matter how small, that your inner voice did not agree with.  That, and when you didn’t say the one thing you really wanted to say, because you doubted it.  I think this is part of what Peterson is getting at.  He uses more serious examples, like the people in WWII who let Hitler get away with more and more stuff until, before you know it, people were being exterminated in concentration camps.

All because people didn’t speak up,

or rationalized away something that bugged them,

or, in other words, because they didn’t tell the truth.







summer camp

Summer is a time for me to read and to study, to rest and to watch the little boys play.

Every day we swim together.

Every day we’re happy here.

There’s a permanent hole that’s been left in my soul.

Every day I feel it.

Every day I know it’s there.

There’s a song in my heart and a smile inside

A path finding me here on the outside, too

There’s a wonder in the week of arts and crafts.

There’s a square times four on the basketball court.

There’s a quiet in the shadow of a pitiless sun

A remembrance of the One who gave the summer

every painted sky

I sometimes regret abandoning my blogs.

The first time, I do believe, was necessary.  There were some serious soul-issues needing healing and intervention in my life, and neither of those things could happen by staying where I was.  So I moved to another blog (here), where I could start over.  I personally contacted a handful of readers/friends and invited them to “follow” me here.  They did, and I was grateful, for if there was one thing I had learned from blogging, it was that life isn’t meant to be lived alone, and you never are actually as alone as you feel.  I wrote one last post and left the others behind.

I never even said goodbye.

Then I did the same thing here.  Silly as it sounds, I continue to doubt whether or not writing here is good or bad.  I simultaneously need to be open, vulnerable, and in community with people, and at the same time, I am afraid of the internet.  I cannot completely trust the unknown.  I also despise the loneliness of it.  You can connect, but not really, not in a way that is lasting, deep, true and in person.  So I get frustrated and leave.  The thing is, I can keep quiet for a while, but only for a while.  After a while, I cannot keep quiet any longer.  I need to write.  I need to connect.

a brave-hearted canyon to catch the ideas

watch from the edges

and wait for the echo