Monthly Archives: May 2022


Lately when I see Ghost sleeping I feel like I need to check and see if he’s still breathing. We’ve had a few normal stretches of mild spring weather where he lived outside again for those times. But he seems to like it in here now, and it was hotter and more humid again today. My heart has completely changed toward Ghost. When he first came around I was grossed out with how terrible and beat up he looked. He’d been living in the dumpster after his owners moved away but didn’t end up taking him with.

His original name was Morris. We learned all this when his former owner stopped by the house one day. I don’t remember why he was there, and he didn’t take Ghost with him, but he did give us more background into his history. Even when we first adopted him as an outside cat, I wasn’t overly affectionate with him because I didn’t like when he would sneeze without warning. Over time, however, he started to grow on me, and became a familiar face on the front picnic table where we do summer camp check-ins.

The first group of campers comes in tomorrow night. I think I feel at peace about camp starting now. The thing about our son being away for most of the summer was something that was on my mind so much, I felt like I needed to talk with him. We ended up having a few moments together where I was able to share some of my feelings, tell him that I’ll never feel like I had enough time, and that I was sorry for wasting the time that I had. I was crying pretty hard trying to tell him all this, not knowing what he thought.

I’m having to grow to be secure even when it comes to parenting my own son, as I’ve often let stereotypes guide me instead of love, whether it’s stereotypes about mothers or stereotypes about men. The facts are that love unapologetically includes times of intimate tenderness. He said the funny thing about all this is that he was right next door, which did make me shake my head and laugh. I pulled him in tighter and told him I loved him so much and started crying again. I left knowing I had been loved in return.

We had a nice Memorial Day weekend. The Sunday dinner went well and we were blessed with good weather. Yesterday evening we enjoyed spending the evening around the campfire with another couple. She used to work with us at camp, and he is pastor in the district who we’ve known through his extended family. Today we had a family friend from Hoyleton come visit. She’s the one who used to come over and watch the kids while I went to the store. Tonight I’m thankful for the joys of family and friends.


He wondered why I’d come if I wasn’t going to end up getting out of the car. In the middle of the day an email went out to the track kids and parents that one of their teammates had won state in the high jump and triple jump. They were meeting at school to welcome him back and celebrate. I knew my son would want to go, and asked if he’d mind if I came along. I came because I wanted to share in the happy moment.

Yesterday’s little urgent care visit seems to have cured the ill temper that had taken up residence. Camp season is here now, with weekend events beginning this morning. We spent some of the afternoon finishing up the cleaning in the front of the house. It might be a tad harsh to say that the front of our house starts to look like a dump after a while. I admit there is an element of keeping up with the Jones’s when it comes to my ideas of the improvements our house needs, but there is also value in normal upkeep.

I’m happy with the way it turned out. It isn’t perfect or completely finished, but it’s better than it was before. They say you can tell a lot about a man by the way he keeps his yard. I tend to think the state of the yard reflects more on me. When the kids were little I thought I just didn’t have time to bother with things like outside beautification. Now that they are older, I think I still just get depressed and give up.

None of this accounts for what is truly on my mind. There was a moment with a child where the stated factor of decision-making was that it would be better to ask for forgiveness than permission. Moments after I found this out, I was swept up into a conversation that would’ve been even more enjoyable had I not been distracted. Panic and rage were firing inside me while simultaneously being introduced to a couple who is camping for the weekend. I feel I am too sensitive for this vocation I have.

Two of the kids are sleeping away from the house tonight. One is with the summer staff and another is sleeping in a camper with friends. I understand that these are all very normal things. A couple of moms and I were talking tonight about how it feels like we are losing our kids. I was not the only mom who wants her kids to be home with her and for things not to feel like they’re gone before they’ve even technically left. We also acknowledged that we were thankful they had this camp where they wanted to be.

Every so often a shift in the life or parenting stage comes with its internal adjustments, and sends me back to feeling like I am raw, inexperienced, and starting all over. In the end, I am overwhelmed feeling blessed beyond measure for the privilege of having been a part of their lives. Every day of this journey has been one of learning to trust in the goodness and love of God towards my children, but also for me. I truly can’t keep up, and still today, am learning to embrace, love, know, and be along for the ride.


It’s been a full but good day. The boys technically finished their school year this morning. I admit it was pretty anti-climactic, with me telling them we’d be heading to the store when they were done with their school. Their year began in a low-key fashion and ended that way as well. They have a week off school and then I do plan to have them continue working on math, language arts, and Bible throughout the summer.

We’ve shared a few meals with the staff since they’ve been here. All except one have worked here before or been a campers or junior counselors here. The cooks have nearly begun their full-time summer duties, but Josh and I were in charge of supper tonight. I shopped for the food while in town this morning, and he did most of the food prep. We had an unexpected trip to urgent care this afternoon in the pre-supper hours.

One of the boys accidently sliced his finger with a pocket knife. He’d been working with my father-in-law in his farm shed. He brought him out for us to look at it to see what we thought. It looked deep enough to need some further medical attention. Thankfully he hadn’t cut himself too near a joint or a fingernail. The doctor was able to glue it and cover the glue with steri-strips. We were thankful that he was alright and cared for.


It’s a rainy afternoon. The kids are with grandma for their annual camp supplies shopping spree. Josh is with the staff, as staff training started yesterday at noon. The cats currently inside are all napping peacefully. I spent the morning doing normal things such as tidying, sweeping, and vacuuming the upstairs. While I was sweeping, one of the girls who was in the office asked if she could use our bathroom. I did one of those split second things in my head where I wondered if it was rude or appropriate to tell her that there is a bathroom in the office, but simply said, “Yes, just let me make sure it’s decent first.”

I’ve been in kind of a bad mood lately. It’s not the outward kind where you end up being short or impatient with someone. That actually doesn’t happen very much with me anymore. This is more of a simmering beneath the surface, that makes me wonder how it’s going to end up coming out. I slightly raised my voice at one of the outside cats when I opened our back door to empty out the vacuum canister. He ran inside and I was fumbling around with him in the pantry saying, “No, you are not coming in here!”

Something very weird just happened as I was writing. (I literally just pulled a crawling tick out of my hair after typing that). One of the daughters of our staff members walked into our house and into the living room where I currently am. She was looking for her mother. That’s all resolved now, but again, there was that momentary ethical dilemma of wondering how I am supposed to handle this. Am I supposed to host the child until her mother returns? Josh ended up taking her back to main camp with the staff.

After that paragraph someone came to the door. I’m kind of over the point of my life where I want people to understand me. At some point it really is just time to grow up. One of the mistakes I’ve made here before is when I end up listening to younger staff members rant or share their complaints about something, I end up sharing my own complaints or negativity. I’ve always been a little confused by the blankness or lack of reciprocity in support when I do that. It makes sense to me now though. I’m the adult.

We had our Grief Share meeting at church last night. It seems to me to be going well. I mostly listen and occasionally add to the discussion, but yesterday I led the group since the DCE was unable to be there. Though I’ve experienced a bit of commitment remorse, it’s been nice to feel involved in something and like maybe people are being helped. Again I felt free to simply listen and affirm in the opening of space for common pain to be witnessed. This morning I was feeling a little revisited by the times of life that require from us more solitude than sharing. The nature of human pain is that we often feel alone in it.

Every so often I feel alone again and societally re-distanced by all the things that had to happen in order to get to the place where I currently am. I’ve also been a little annoyed with the ways I seem to repeatedly write, to where I don’t even want to engage the process. I’d like to start a summer reading project, but have yet to pursue or have the desire for any kind of mentally challenging book. It’s like I’m burnt out on the fantasy that any of this is going to be useful someday.

The landscaping rocks were delivered yesterday in two truckloads. Josh and the boys moved the rock into the front of the house. I was able to do some brief shoveling and moving around of the rock with the hoe, which I noticed and am definitely thankful for. There’s still like a hollowness feeling in the middle of my chest, where everything used to be that held things together, but was destroyed when the lightning blew everything out.


Cute childhood memories are nice and all, but I have my limits. I was starting to feel for them after multiple attempts to fish with no results. My grandpa and I fished when I was little, which means I can cast and put a worm on a hook, but I thought one of our former counselors might be able to assist with more success. He came out last Thursday to fish with the boys. All together they had seven catches.

One of the fish they caught three times. The third time they caught him, he’d swallowed the hook. He wasn’t going to survive long following the removal. Each of the boys took turns holding a stick with the intent to end the fish’s misery. None of the boys were able to bring themselves to kill it, which somewhere in my heart was a relief for me to hear. They picked him up and lowered him into the water, where he died.

The lap pool was full again this morning. I did most of the same things I did last week, minus the talking and going with a friend part. She wasn’t able to make it this morning, so I left around 6:30 and was back in time to start school with the boys. They were surprisingly still asleep, and soundly so, when I got back. On Friday Josh took the kids to a late drive-in movie. I stayed home, waking around 1AM when they returned.

We’ve got a few days to go before camp season starts. Over the weekend I stopped by a local landscaping business and ordered six tons of glacier/rainbow rock. A third of it is for the front of our house. The rest, tentatively, is to be split between the chapel and the dining hall. The boys and I spent the afternoon weeding in the front of the house and washing siding. There’ll be more of the outside work to do tomorrow .

One of the boys was with my father-in-law again today. The fields are all planted, but he said they had other little things they could work on and do. The big kids have this week left of school and then they’re done for the summer. School for me was finished after the first week of May. I told the boys we’re doing summer school this year, which is something they’ve heard from me before. I told them again that I meant it this time.


I used to want to write a book telling women they needed to have more sex with their husbands. I thought most of the world’s men were sexually starved, addicted to pornography, and in need of women who understood their needs. Wives having more sex with their husbands would be a way to show love to them, to experience increased closeness and enjoyment themselves, and would basically eliminate society’s marriage problems.

Women had a duty and special role in saving men. The best movies were not the ones where the damsel in distress was suddenly rescued by a man, as if the only thing that made him great was her helplessness and physical weakness. It was no surprise to me that Wonder Woman was directed by a woman, with every dream and fantasy resonating as true, all while showing that the truest feminine spirit was not anti-male.

Sexual creatures are powerful creatures. I struggle to grasp and know next to nothing about the proposed fantasies that involve a woman being bound and tied up by a man. Submission in theory was not a problem for me. Most personal sexual fantasies put me in a position of power. Either the man was so taken by my sexual energy and presence, rendering him weak and helpless himself, or I was offering my body to comfort him.

The innocent desires I will sometimes bring up, when the bonds of marital closeness encourage words to flow more freely, allowing for the knowing and true expressions of the soul. I can talk about the man next door without a woman beside him, how at one time I thought about climbing in through his window in the middle of the night, then crawling into his bed. There’s the passing hint of attraction when you’re around someone new.

It doesn’t seem wrong until I think about actually doing it, and even more so, him doing it. If wanting to build a life of any deep and lasting value, there isn’t space in a relationship for any outsiders capturing the body or heart of the other. Fidelity sounds romantic, and I would say that it is, but there were years when monogamy was physically painful, so consumed was I with grief that I would never again be newly explored or discovered.

Time would mercifully cure this, though at times the truth to me still seems harsh: If people do not amend their ways, if either one decides they cannot go on or will no longer forgive, if God does not perform the miracle, then the marriage is doomed from the moment it begins. Biblical covenant love is no joke. Give it time and you will know the power behind for better or worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health.

Some topics seem to inexplicably find their way to us. I sometimes wonder why this one seems to be mine, one that has stayed with me over the course of years and years. The church is often criticized for not talking about sexual issues openly enough, and in the instances when they do, they’re criticized for not talking about it in an appropriate way. At this point I am thankful that I never wrote that book, and wouldn’t write it anymore.


The extra-curricular activities are winding down for the school year. Last night was the final baseball game of the season. Tonight we attended the senior awards ceremony, which included a few academic awards for juniors. Our son received the awards for Math and Religion. He has always excelled in school and done so mostly with relative ease. I think it’s easy to take for granted the things we admire about our loved ones, to where we don’t take the time to speak the things we genuinely feel inside. I am proud of him for what he has accomplished in his school years and thankful to God for gifting him with the ability to remember things and do well in school.

Today was a good day, even as I spent another mid-morning awake but in bed. I was half still tired and half still down and in a slump, with my aunt and grandma’s travel in my thoughts and my prayers. Yesterday I went swimming for the first time since November. I met with a pastor’s wife friend and we swam for 20 minutes in the lap pool before transferring over to the rec pool for more stretching and standing movements while simultaneously catching up on life. I felt amazingly good afterwards, the best I have felt since this whole thing started. The boys had come with me and worked on school and drank coffee in the lobby. I tried not to torture them with an endless banishment of wondering how long they’d have to sit there and was back within the hour.

Josh has still been doing the majority of the grocery shopping. After I was sick again in December and early January, he picked it back up. Once I started school and he entered into his slower season for camp, the shopping was just something he kept on doing. I never intended for him to do it this long, but I do feel like it’s been an extended relief and honestly something that was best for me to not do. He asked if I could go today after my appointment and before it was time to pick up our daughter. The boys stayed here while he helped a school group. I still find pushing the cart and transferring the food to its places to be very different, but with rest again, possible.


“But as for me the nearness of God is my good…”
~Psalm 73:28~

My grandma and aunt are flying out tomorrow morning. I talked to my mom the other day and heard from her a little bit more of the story. I’m also wishing I’d never brought this particular story up here. I’d already told my sister that I didn’t have it in me to hear any more stories. My personal role in the family confusions has changed from being the one to call and say, “Tell me everything”, to being the person who had plenty of things to say myself, to this time, where I oddly felt numb and without desire or words to speak or strength to listen. It wasn’t a place I wanted to stay in long. I neither have it in me anymore to be too upset at anyone for any prolonged amounts of time.

I keep wanting to talk more about my personal experiences with anger here, but can’t seem to feel right about most of the words I try and use to do it. They say that underneath anger are more vulnerable emotions. Hurt, disappointment, and sadness often coincide with anger. At least when I feel it, and hear others describe it, disappointment often sounds like such a petty emotion. Judging emotions is often easier than admitting or feeling them. I’m newly still learning how to live in that tension of not dismissing or denying the disappointments of life, but also holding space for the things that went well, and unexpectedly so, in ways you couldn’t have thought up on your own.

This is also where I’m at. I feel like those crossroad moments are more recognizable. The crossroad moments are when we’re simply going along and an opportunity presents itself to choose the old way or a new way. The wonderful thing about time going on, is that we often have chances to make different choices than the ones we made before. We are given new hearts, and slowly given minds transformed by God for different patterns. God does not change. To this very day, as he did in former times, God sets before us life and death. Turn the page and you’ll find the word is very near to us, in our mouths and in our hearts, filling us ever deeply with a love that surpasses knowledge.


I barely even remember my junior prom. One of my friends from school was going with one of the male counselors from camp. I had known him from working there, and she had met him after coming down as a camper for high school week. They came by and picked me up. I hadn’t even planned to go, but decided at the last minute that I guess I would. At the thrift store I’d found a used and decent forest green dress for nine dollars.

After freshman and sophomore year, I pretty much thought school dances were stupid. If I went to dances, I didn’t go with dates. I went with friends. One of the exceptions to this was the time I went with one of the boys in our youth group. Our youth group was small, consisting of me, my two sisters, the friend I went to junior prom with, our next-door neighbor, and three to four boys. He sadly ended up taking his own life several years later.

Phil never asked me to any dances. I never understood this. We had just started going out before I left for camp my first summer. I don’t remember how that dissolved, except that I became part of completely different world. I fell for the first college male that I saw, who I hoped could be the one I was destined to marry. That same year there was another guy who female staff didn’t like in that way. I didn’t understand this either.

Humans can be quite shallow at times. He often seemed to me to be more spiritual than the others. He also played the guitar, which made me wonder if he was perhaps the one I was supposed to marry. I was only at camp for the last half of the summer, but during that time we’d stay up in the dining hall, holding hands and praying together on a semi-regular basis. For the final staff get together of the summer, I chose his car.

When camp was over, whenever we’d talk on the phone, he’d sometimes tell me about the less than godly things he’d done in his life. He too was from a larger Christian family, which made his confessions all the more puzzling. When my dad had a possible job transfer in the state where this young college man was living, I thought maybe this was a sign that God was bringing us closer together. Our family didn’t end up moving.

He came down one weekend and picked me up. He was visiting a friend at Illinois State. I followed him into the co-ed dorm, one of those sin-infested places of fornication and debauchery. I don’t even remember what happened there, other than that I wasn’t enjoying myself and wanted to go home. He took me home and those days were over. I later decided that it hadn’t been worth getting my braces off half a year early for him.


I told her this is the one time I give you full permission to feel like absolute crap on purpose for something that ultimately doesn’t matter. We were all on the bleachers at the sectional track meet, mapping out our cheering stations. I’d be right past the goal post on the first 100M curve. Dad would be down at the 200M mark, Grandma at 300M, and the four yelling brothers plus a camp son spread out along the final straightaway.

I had taken a xanax about 20 minutes before the race, which did nothing to stop my pounding heart as the runners got started. I’d been sitting at my station trying to be calm. She was in the slower of the two heats, and the competition had already been looked up online. Several of the girls she’d be running with had 800M times in the mid to low 2:50’s. Her personal record was 3:00 flat, and her only goal for the meet was to break it.

She ran her 800 in 2:51.89, won the heat, and got 6th overall out of 17 runners. We were all so incredibly proud and happy for her. I returned to my normal current mom self where I remind the kids to listen to their bodies, that they have nothing to prove to anyone, that these races aren’t worth overextending or injuring yourself. It’s hard for me to watch my kids run, but we had fun. The medicine helped with the rest of the night.

I’ve been craving some time to sit down and deeply write. Since my visit up to my parents house, plans have changed regarding where my grandma will be living. After visiting the house again and thinking through a few more things, my parents didn’t think the house they were moving to would be a good fit for my grandma to live in. Between my aunts and parents, in one of those difficult and potentially triggering and stressful conversations, the decision was made for her to move back to Florida with my aunt and my uncle.

There was a reason I didn’t have too many feelings about any of this before. That reason is because I know how plans often turn into different ones. I also know God though, and the ways he watches over and cares for his people. None of this is a surprise to him. My aunt seemed at peace when she talked about it, which helped me feel at peace as well. I don’t know if saying everything happens for a reason is some kind of protective coping mechanism or what, but it does seem to help in various times when we don’t understand, as we look to him taking each day as it comes.