The Melt


2014 has been an epic winter for the midwest and for us here in West Michigan 5 foot snow piles are a normal part of the scenery.

We have had snow cover on the ground since before Thanksgiving with very little days above freezing and always additional accumulation raising the level of snow in the front yard.

“Alright winter, you’ve proved your point. Enough already. Go home.”

The cloud cover has been endless and it seems as though weeks have passed without a shred of blue sky or sunshine.

But this week? We hit 40 degrees and the sun hit the snow and turned it into fields of translucent glitter.

The kids and I headed out in the warm sunshine to build a snowman from the wet snow in our front yard. It promptly fell over from the warmth of the day.


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31 Letters to my Mother {Day 30} Peacock apologies

Dear Mom,

My house is a weird and cluttered mess of coffee cups and laundry right now.  My floors are sprinkled with dead leaves, cheerios and little people toys.  My sinks need a good ol fashioned “soft scrub” treatment and our toilets well, let’s never mind those.

Life has gotten away from me again and I have the piles of dishes and laundry to prove it.

I don’t have anything pretty or polished to show off and my eyes are purply baggy-saggy from all our recent sleepless nights of coughing and fitful dreams.

Remember when I used to come through your house in a huff?  I would strut around like a snooty peacock making snarky comments about what you were eating, wearing, watching and the state of your refrigerator.

I know that I made you feel awful about yourself and I claimed that I wasn’t doing it on purpose.

But you know what?  I think that I was. 

I think somewhere in my messed up head I thought you’d see me in all my fake perfection and want to make some healthy changes in your life.  

Yet, I know now that no one ever inspired positive change in others by rubbing it in their face.  Real, loving help comes with side by side humility and oodles of patience.

And honestly, I’m not sure that would have worked either.  Some days I’m not sure if I ever could made a difference in your overall health and then other day’s I’m certain that I could have, but went about it all wrong.

Some days I blame myself and other days I blame you.  I always blame the depression but I’m still not sure where the line is between what you could control and what was beyond you.

Yet none of it excuses the bitchy peacock treatment I so often gave you.

So for the strutting around, I’m sorry
For the talking down, I’m sorry
For the lack of love I am ever and always sorry sorry sorry.

I hope you felt loved, I hope that somehow your mother heart could see that my behavior stemmed from feelings of abandonment and confusion and not malice or hate.

It was love mom, confused, misspoken love.  I’m not sure you could have ever interpreted it that way.

Tomorrow I will sign off, our letters in this space are nearly coming to a close but I think they’ve started a conversation between us that will never end.

I love you, I miss you,


Rain, Hope and One Mother of a Hard Day

and then it rained.

We’ve been having a drought around here.  I’ve written about it and the weather channel has mentioned it so it’s not a big secret.

When the heavens opened up with torrents of water on Saturday I gasped and took pictures of it through windows and open doors.

We let the kids play outside in the cool, wet backyard for hours and then plunged them in a bubble bath after warm cups of stovetop hot chocolate.

Kel and I kept looking at each other thinking, we made it! Made it through the crazy summer, the heat, the lack of routine and all the traveling.  Now fall was almost here, our salvation, our quenching rain, our return to the steady life.

We ended the day on the couch with Hunger Games and huge bowls of popcorn just like everyone else in America did on Saturday. It was blissful.

The next morning was supposed to be THE day, our no work, very sabbathy, family oriented day.

I wasn’t counting on the ghosts to come out of the closet.  I didn’t plan to fill up with anxiety and crippling fear about my memories of my mom and her death.

But the honest trust it that yesterday was ghosts and fears, one mother of a hard day.  I spent the day sifting through my mother’s illness and all the parts that were passed on to me.  Wondering and worrying, then worrying and wondering some more.

I wondered, as I often do, is this just an anxious day or the start of something worse?  The beginning of some terrible, final pronouncement on my life.

Yesterday was horrible, humbling and yet somehow absolutely normal.  You can’t go where I’ve gone and not wrestle with it sometimes.  You can’t ever totally get over it, it’s a piece of my puzzle that I have to work out somedays.

I had to ask for Kel’s help to get through the day without breaking apart.  I had to ask some friends to help me get a prescription filled.  I had to ask God over and over again to show me how I’m supposed to process this depression thing.

Will I have it forever?  Do I pray against it or come to terms with it?  Do other people think I’m crazy?  Should it really matter?

Am I see as one of THOSE people who need a pill to function?

Am I seen as one of THOSE people who has a messy family with a suicide on the record books?

I won’t pretend these questions don’t surface sometimes, that’s of no good to me, to my family or to the world.

Trusting God never means ignoring the pain for his glory, it’s all about plowing through the troubles of the world, that’s what brings the beauty.

The sun set on yesterday and today I long to climb a mountain, to surround myself in azure blue offset by marshmallow clouds.  To get perspective from somewhere higher than I can see right here, right now.  I want to climb and ponder and to return home with deeper perspective.

But these stolen moments in my closet office may be all I scrounge up today.  So I will breathe thanks for these few quiet moments, even though the cat is in my face and making my quiet moments smell like tuna breath.

Is it all better now?  All good?  All gone?  No, but there is always something fragrant and hopeful on the horizon, isn’t there?  May we never stop scanning the horizon for hope.


Now for a total change of pace, the Rug Giveaway announcement.

The winner (selected at random) is Brenna D!

Congrats, the Rug is yours!  Hooray!  Now I get to send you a rug and hug you in Chicago at the Story Conference.  A hug and a rug, it doesn’t get better, eh?  (it probably does)

Thanks to all for helping me with Facebook page numbers, you guys amaze me.