Faith, Family, & Focaccia

A faith and culture Mommy blog, because real life gets all mixed together like that.


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Moonlit prayers


Her open, glowing face pulls on my soul, insistent as the tide, compelling

honesty. A truth that whispers safely in the darkness of the night.

This light’s illumination is the gentle kind that blurs the lines and shadows,

beauty, in the ambiguities. A soft exhale of grace.

Thank you sweet Creator God, for moonlit prayers.

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Waiting For An Earthquake

Like a fault-scarred landscape,

I’m braced against the tremor that foreshadows instability.

It matters not who made the scars.

not who is to blame.

It matters only that the shaking could –

whenever that inevitable lurch arrives –

take hold.

And then, oh then I fear the shaking will not stop until it’s broken all the fragile structures I have built upon the surface,

ways to hide the scars.

And if these decorative lies should crumble into dust,

what then?

What is my silent fear beyond the quake?

From that dark chasm deep within what do I fear?

From out the depths, do I believe will come some molten pain that could deform me even more?


Is there life?

A spring of living water that – like Balm of Gilead – will soothe my soul and wash the faults away in blessed baptism of grace?


if such a spring is there

won’t it be worth the shuddering wrench

to set it free?

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As hard as it should ever be

A few nights ago the Gigglemonster was having a rough time with the whole sleeping-when-the-lights-are-off thing. I can’t really blame him. He was dealing with a perfect storm of sleep-impairing factors:

  • first day of Kindergarten anxiety
  • nightmares
  • growing pains (I remember them from the teen years – they made me cry)
  • the knowledge that our house was missing that necessary element: Daddy (gone on a business trip)

Given all that, my little not-quite-six year old just couldn’t seem to settle, or stay asleep once he did. I was called into his room again and again, a call made difficult by Mommy’s own sleep-impairing reality of a looming deadline on a major grant application. Needless to say, it was a hard night for both of us.

At around 2:00am, when I had finally shut down my computer and dragged myself to bed only to be wakened by child cries, we were curled together on his bed as I tried to soothe him. He was beyond exhausted, but that made it all the harder to calm down and fall back to sleep. His legs hurt, and he was overwrought, and he just couldn’t take it anymore.

With his sweet little faced scrunched up against the ALL of it, he half-cried his hopeless protest.

“I’m just having a really HARD night, Mommy.”

As I cuddled him closer and told him I understood, I knew that this was true.

I also knew that there were so many little ones that night whose “hard” was unimaginably worse than the “hard” my little boy was fighting. The image of little Aylan Kurdi, and the knowledge of all the millions fleeing the terror that ultimately took his life, has been draining my soul all week. Lying on a soft bed, in a safe house, with all our physical needs met and no fear that they will ever be threatened, I was rocked by the recognition that even here “hard” can be too much. Hard can overwhelm, and leave a loving mother feeling helpless to give my child what he needs and desperately asks me for.

What must it be for a mother to not be able to even give her child safety? What must it be to not even have a bed in which to cuddle your terrified son? 

Reflecting on these contrast I felt grateful for all that we have, but more I was devastated for those who don’t have safety. Comparisons like this can too easily become a sanctimonious sermon about looking at what one has instead of what one lacks, but that take feels very selfish to me. Feeling grateful for what I have is wholly and utterly inadequate when facing the refugee crisis. The comparison that struck me while I comforted my son wasn’t about me. It was about all those who can’t comfort their children because the “hard” they are dealing with is just too hard.

For a five year old, missing his Daddy, and dealing with the first day of school, and waking up with nightmares and growing pains… all that is genuinely hard. And it’s as hard as it should ever be for little boys and girls. As hard as it should ever be. 

If you haven’t done so yet, please join me in doing what you can to help. Links for a few reputable organizations providing direct aid to the crisis are below. It’s can’t fix everything, but it will help parents who don’t have what they need to comfort there children tonight.

World Relief Disaster Response

Lutheran World Relief 

World Vision Syria Crisis Appeal

Ox Fam is also working to generate support for refugee resettlement. You can join that effort here

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Suicide Prevention Reflection

I don’t know if it is a sign of my healing, or of my current stress level, that World Suicide Prevention Day passed almost without a second thought today (or – technically – yesterday). Given the way that my father’s suicide when I was not quite grown has shaped my life, that relative inconsequence certainly means something.

Since I am still up, however, I don’t want to let the day pass without any notice, and so I am re-posting the piece I wrote shortly after the world lost the tortured light that was Robin Williams.

Suicide is complicated. It is wonderful to have a day of awareness, but Facebook memes and one-day attention efforts are not enough. When we talk about suicide, we need to really talk.

So this is my contribution to the conversation:

Absolutes and Vulnerability

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Sky Knowing

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The sky was painted for my soul tonight.

The sweeping strokes of color draw me up

away from gravity of daily life,

and draw from me a sigh too deep for words,

too real to be confined to lines of frozen verse.

But I must try,

must let my spirit’s lover know that I have read his message

writ across this little part of heaven –

the only part that I can see, for now.

It’s hard to wait,

with leaden feet that trap me here upon this broken earth

It’s hard to see only a little piece of heaven

when I’m longing for that sweet fulfillment when I’ll see it all

and know that all is well

not just for me, but truly ALL.

But until then,

I have this sky

And in this sky,

In this soft, momentary gift of light

I know the soul of God.

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They tell me I’m supposed to find a balance:

between work and play

between rest and responsibility

between activity and contemplation

between care for others and restorative care of self.


sometimes all this balancing just feels like one more task I must perfect.

Or else,

all the delicately balanced weights will all come crashing down.

But perhaps

the goal is not the static stillness of a balanced scale.

Perhaps the object I must balance on is actually a swing,

and my task is to kick out my legs,

and enjoy the ride.

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Recently life has been more than a bit frantic. Working, parenting, housekeeping, wifeing… it has all been pilling up and pulling me round until I am wondering whether dizziness is just my perpetual reality.

And so, as an attempted remedy, I spent some time this morning in grounding prayer. Prayer in the  sense not of speaking, but of listening. Of sitting in silence for the still small voice to speak to me.

And today, that voice spoke to my soul in lines of poetry.



Like a child’s spinning top

I launch myself at frantic speed

seeking the velocity

to let me balance on a tiny point of contact.



in my enthusiasm,

or anxiety,

I push too hard.

No elegant display of spinning speed,

no ballerina poised on point am I.

I am the wobbling, panicked top about to 




in my panic I reach out,

reach down,

my hand and heart both grasping for the solid ground,

for grounding, 

for a source of steadiness outside myself. 



in that contact 

I remember:

that I am spinning on a world that spins as well,

and the Master Spinner does not need my feeble speed

To make the world go round.

I can rest here,

and know

I’m spinning still in glorious mystery.


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