A Place to Write

“Give me a place to write, ” I told him. I didn’t mean a comfy chair or a room with a nice view. I needed the literal space where I write words.

Nearly eleven years ago I sat on a white couch on Captiva Island on our honeymoon and started a blog. Then I deleted it. A couple years later I started another one and stuck with it consistently for many years and enjoyed the heck out of writing about whatever I felt needed to be said. At some point I became extremely sporadic. I once blamed having children for my lack of writing, and while that is a huge part of it, Read more

Grace in a Buffet

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If it’s possible to see God’s grace in a piece of restored antique furniture, I’ve seen it.

When my grandmother died, I walked away with three sets of her china. As we were cleaning out their house, my grandfather Pop was surprised to see all the dishes she collected over the years and wondered how she got past him with purchasing and storing it all. She was an antique connoisseur with classy taste and a knack for quality, even if for a higher price. One of the sets of china I now have Pop doesn’t remember Momma Jean ever using. I imagine she bought it because it caught her eye, and of course, she had to have the whole set, not just a few pieces.

Dishes, furniture, clothing, jewelry–her spending habits were a perfect mix of frugal when necessary but willing to spend a pretty penny on something that will last. A lot of the material things in our house are a product of that. My son is using the bed and night stand my uncle used as a kid. In the words of Cousin Eddie, Ethan Allen is really nice.

Two things I’ve learned about myself in the past two and a half years since the passing of both of my beloved grandmothers–

  1. I prefer the things that have been passed down over the brand new things.
  2. I have too many dishes.

Due to those facts, I realized I needed another place to store dishes and things from my grandmothers. I already have a kitchen with plenty of cabinet space, a huge hutch in my kitchen, a china cabinet of my grandmother’s, and a china cabinet Brent bought me that was originally purchased from the local hardware store in our town. All are full. And yes, I’ve already cleaned them out. It sounds like I have too much stuff. What you hear is correct. But I grieve by using all of these dishes and furniture.

Grief is not a one time event. It’s a rest of your life thing. And it’s not all tears and sadness. It’s also beautiful and full of grace. Grief can look like the daily use of things that once belonged to women in my family that served God and their families well, and using them with joy and thankfulness that God gave me such a Godly heritage. I can’t speak for your home, but in mine, we eat food and sit on furniture multiple times throughout the day. So much of what I do in my home reminds me of them, but more importantly leads me to remember the goodness and grace of God.

For Christmas this year, I asked Brent for another piece of furniture to hold the rest of Momma Jean’s things that had been sitting in bright, turquoise tubs in my dining room for a few months. Immediately, he was on it. Shopping around for new furniture at all the popular online furniture stores. He’d send me links of things he found that he thought I’d like. And, while I did like most of what he picked out, none of them were what I wanted.

“What is it that you want, then?” he’d ask.

“I don’t know. I’ll know it when I see it.” I’d say.

I knew it had to be antique, or at least not brand new. It had to be solid wood. It had to have dovetail drawers. It had to have a history in another home and with another family before mine. A warehouse full of the same pieces of overstocked furniture was not what I had a mind. There is a place and time for that, but this was not it. If the purpose of this piece of furniture was to hold Momma Jean’s things, it had to be a piece of furniture Momma Jean would buy.

It wasn’t until shopping after Christmas that I found exactly what I wanted. Actually, Brent found it first. We were walking around the store separately.  He saw an antique and restored buffet and knew this was the piece I’d unknowingly been looking for. He also saw the price tag and knew I’d see that first and dismiss the furniture quickly, so he turned the price tag around, found me in the store, and said, “I found something I think you’re going to like.”

I told him not to tell me where it was. I wanted to see if I could find it on my own. I turned a corner and saw it. My eyes went directly to the price tag and I saw that it was turned around. Brent said, “Tell me what you think. Do not look at the price.”

Well, of course, I loved it. It was perfect. It was what I was looking for, without being able to describe it beforehand. It was used. It was solid wood. It had dovetail drawers. It had a history. It was quality. It was worth a pretty penny.

Brent didn’t let me consider a cheaper buffet that I found. He wanted me to have what he knew I’d love for a lifetime.

I imagine similar conversations occurred between my grandparents when Momma Jean was shopping for just the right piece of furniture, or jewelry, or dishes. Pop didn’t let her settle. He spent the extra so she’d be able to enjoy it as long as she lived. Being encouraged (or told, rather) to buy the pricier item for the purpose of loving it as long as I’m able reminded me of the way Pop loved Momma Jean.

Brent knows I’m bent to the frugal side, not spending more when I can buy similar for less and rarely spending on myself. He also knows me well and wanted me to have what I truly wanted, regardless of price. He didn’t let me settle in the furniture store. The freedom, love, and grace Brent showed me in that moment made me tear up right there in the store, standing in front of the perfect piece of furniture. Being known better than I know myself is a gift of grace.

I’m convinced this piece of furniture was made just for us, just for this space, and just for the purpose of holding Momma Jean’s things. I’ve even decorated it with her classic Reader’s Digest books, her bookends, her milk glass, and a sign my aunt made with wood from my family’s land.

God’s grace stored and displayed in this new buffet of mine.

The Lord knows the days of the blameless, and their heritage will remain forever.
Psalm 37: 18

The God that Remembers

I have hesitated to sit down and share more about my trip to Kenya. Every time I start to write something it sounds so stereotypical of someone who did an extremely short-term mission trip to a foreign country.

“It was life-changing.”

“They taught me more than I taught them.”

The reason those things are said is because they are true and there’s just not many other ways to describe the experience. Read more

Problems Everywhere and the Lodge Just Outside the Gate

The day had two beginnings.

The first was at 10:49 pm, after having only been in bed on my quasi memory foam African mattress for less than two hours.

I was on the bottom bunk, Mackenzie was on the top, and the door to our tiny bedroom was locked. Earlier in the week this room had been an escape for six of us out of a small opening in the window bars when the door to our side of the home was unexpectedly locked permanently. That was our first of many #problemseverywhere. We broke the lock, we broke the hot water heater button, we broke the toilet lid, we broke the button on the newly installed fan, we tore the floor covering when we moved the bunk bed to escape the room through the window, the oven broke just because we were around. Don’t invite Americans to your Kenyan home unless you want us to break everything. Read more

Granny Rosie



One year. 365 days to let it sink in that you live with Jesus now. It’s still very, very fresh.


8-8-16 and you were 88 years old. Numbers have meaning beyond a math problem.


Your life, even to the last breath you took, was all grace. It was a beautiful picture of the faithfulness of Jesus, His provision, and intimate relationship He has with his children.


There are things I knew I’d miss once you were gone. It’s a thought I’ve had since a little girl. I wondered who would supply my Reese’s addiction (that you started) and who would provide the Trident original during big church.  Still waiting on those Reese’s to rain down from Heaven, by the way. I knew I’d miss your laughter. Who doesn’t? I knew I’d miss your gallon of sugar with a little bit of tea. I knew I’d miss your counsel, your wisdom, and your crazy sense of humor. I knew I’d miss burgers and dancing to Dad’s piano playing on Saturday nights. I knew I’d miss beach trips. I knew I’d miss your love and devotion to your family and friends. What an example you were of how to serve a family with unending selfless love.


There’s so much about you to miss. I think about you often throughout my day. Maybe this is weird, but I hear you talking to me? I think because I’ve heard your voice so much that I just know exactly what you’d say to me in every situation. I still hear your laughter. I still post certain things on Facebook because I think you’ll enjoy seeing it, especially if it’s about the kids. I still think about going to visit you when we’re in town and going to pick you up for this or that. I still look for you at family events. I still listen to your voice on my voicemails that I can not and will not delete.


I just sometimes think you are still here. And when I remember you aren’t, it’s just as gut wrenching as it was on August 8, 2016 when Brent drove to school, met me on the playground, and told me you had passed away.


Many things I knew I’d miss. But one thing I did not see coming. One thing I did not really even know was a thing to be missed. I did not foresee how much I’d miss observing your relationship with the Lord, observing the tangible and real faithfulness of Jesus in a person.


I have always been profoundly impacted by your unshakeable faith in Jesus Christ after enduring the death of not only your only sibling and your parents, but also your child and your husband. I can hear you singing “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future, and life is worth the living just because He lives.”  


It’s always been a mystery to me how you endured such suffering. Jesus, of course. But, get real–all that tragedy and you were still faithfully clinging to Him?


It was all a mystery until you died and it was as if I was invited to a front row seat of the relationship you have with your Father.


As a child, we spent the night with you often. You made the best pallets on the floor by your bed. You let us have the extra large king size pillows to sleep on. We’d get ready for bed and pile up on our pallets while you read to us from the Bible. It wasn’t an option. It was what Granny Rosie did before going to bed. And we looked forward to it.


You always had your Bible. You did not let a day go by that you didn’t read it. Even the night before you died, very frail and weak, you read your Bible. You prayed to God.


You let nothing get in the way of your time spent with God. Vacations, illnesses, hospital stays, late nights, grandkids spending the night, etc. Nothing at all prevailed as a reason to skip your nightly Bible reading and prayer time. There was nothing legalistic about it. You enjoyed it. You wanted it.  It was just as much a part of your life as eating. It was woven into your life in a completely natural way.   

After your death, you know we all tore up the house looking for things that would bring back wonderful memories. I found stacks of Bibles, covered up in notes. In every nook and cranny of your house I found pieces of paper with handwritten prayer requests on them. You wrote them down wherever you were when you heard of a need. There were reminders to pray for others all over your house. You define a prayer warrior. Not only did you write down the request, you wrote down the praise when a prayer had been answered. There was no room in your house that did not have written evidence of God’s work.  Your house was filled with reminders of God’s goodness.

I think back to that mystery, of how you endured such suffering, and I see clearly now what it was that carried you.


It’s one simple word.


Abide.


You abided in Christ every second of every day. You recognized and understood that He was your only hope. You depended on Him solely. He was your life line. Without Him you could do nothing. You could not carry about your day without His abiding presence.  You could not walk through life’s tragedies without His Spirit alive in you. He was it. He was enough. He was your all in all. He was truly your strongest and best confidant. He knew you fully, and I dare say you knew Him as fully as one possibly can on this side of Heaven.


Mystery solved. Christ abided in you. You abided in Him.  (Abided? Abode?)


I need a reminder to be that in love with Jesus, to be that dependent on Him for every need and every second of my day.  


After searching through your many Bibles on a mission to find “abide” written in your Bible…


I found this…
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And did this…

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Now Granny Rosie, before you get to thinking I’ve turned into a rebel since you left, talk to Jesus. He knows my heart. He knows Miss Goody Two Shoes over here prayed about this for two years, wanting to be sure she was not being dishonoring or disobedient.  This may be a stretch, Granny Rosie, but just as the Israelites wore God’s commands on their body (granted, bound to their arms with leather straps, not permanent ink), this is me binding His word to my arm so I can internalize His truth and be reminded of His abiding presence.

I settled on the word “abide” long before you died. I’ve since discovered that you are a wonderful reminder for me of what it means for Christ to abide in me, and for me to abide in Christ. It’s only fitting I would have the word in your handwriting from your Bible on my wrist.


You are loved and missed immensely, in ways I can’t express with words. Your life was an incredible testimony to God’s faithfulness to His children. He never let you go. He held you and He carried you all the days of your life, even to your last moment as He answered your greatest prayer in your later years…to not die alone and to continue to live in your house. God granted your request on 8-8-16, because He’s a great God with great love for His people. You were welcomed into His presence after taking your last breath in Dr. Weldon’s office with Dad by your side. The two people you probably trusted most on this earth were the two people God allowed you to see last as you slipped into eternity.


Amen and amen. God is good. And I can’t wait to see you again.

When we all get to Heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be! When we all see Jesus, we’ll sing and shout the victory!  

Scott’s Third Birthday

Scott,
Happy birthday, buddy! If there is any single word I could use to describe your life it would be joy. Sure, you have some unpleasant toddler moments, some days more than others. That is to be expected and considered part of your development as a kid. Aside from normal toddler behaviors, you radiate so much joy. Your smile and laughter are contagious. It’s obvious you are being raised by two very sarcastic parents because you try so hard to get away with things by saying “I was just trying to be funny.” It works often, because you are very funny.

If there was an award for the best brother to be stuck between two sisters, you’d win hands down. You love your sisters with all the love you have to give, though sometimes that love is expressed through aggressive playfulness. You will make them tougher and they will make you softer. It’s a win win for everyone.

Your three years on this earth have been full of life. Can’t stop won’t stop should be your motto, because you are all in or all out and everyone is going to know. You love all modes of transportation: “tars”, trains, bikes, motorcycles, “ambulamps” (ambulances), “wees tars” (police cars), fire trucks, garbage trucks, “recycwing trucks” (recycling trucks), etc. You also love riding in your Power Wheels F-150. Your pick up truck is probably the best investment we’ve ever made in a toy for you. You throw things in the back, ride all over the yard, fix it when it’s “broking” (broken), and take your sisters for a ride. Every night you sleep with your doggy pillow, cars that you have to park just right on the bed first with one to hold in each hand also, and your Bible that you usually tuck under one arm. There are usually other various toys to be found in your bed each night. You are actually dependable (as dependable as a 3 year old can be) when I’m needing your help with Ruby. You are her little protector. You watch her every move and make sure nothing goes in her mouth that shouldn’t. Bottom line: I love being your mommy. It’s the best. You are the most fun 3 year old boy and we love watching you grow, learn new things, and laughing with you. You help keep things less serious around our house because with your happy go lucky personality it’s hard to stay mad or stressed for long. You are starting to understand the things of God and for that we are very grateful. When you choose to obey us, you get all excited and say “That makes Jesus happy!”

Here is your 3 year old interview that you weren’t really that in to. No surprise there. Your answers are first, Mommy’s answer in parentheses when necessary.

What is your name? Stotty
How old are you? fwree
What is your favorite thing to do? uhhh…I don’t know. (Play with your sisters, ride in your truck, jump on the trampoline, swing, play with your train table and cars)
What is your favorite food? eltmo (oatmeal, also chocolate chips)
What is your favorite drink? juice and milk
What is your favorite color? black
What is your favorite animal? I like to ride on trains (lions, bears, and dinosaurs)
What is your favorite show? Blaze and Paw Patrol
What is your favorite movie? The Incredibles (also Star Wars)
What is your favorite toy? Bigger truck (the car hauler you got with birthday money from Mom and Pop)
What is your favorite song? The ting one (Head Over Boots by Jon Pardi. Scott calls it “the king one” because of the line “if I was a king, you would be my queen”. He knows every line. He also likes 80s Mercedes by Maren Morris, which he calls “80s acedes”)
What is your favorite book? Little Blue Truck Leads the Way, Don’t Push the Button, your seek and find book
What is your favorite Bible story? My Bible story (David and Goliath)
Who is your best friend? Zoe, Macy (Zoe is a girl from your class last year and Macy is a dog. Mommy says Parker is your best friend because you tell me all the time that Parker is your buddy. You make friends and play with anyone.)
What makes you happy? a trains (also seeing your sisters in the morning when you wake up)
What do you want to be when you grow up? Two. I’m fwree. I mean I’m fwree. (This was his first answer.)
I know you are three, but what job do you want to have when you grow up? Oooo…a tuptake (cupcake)!

For your party, we invited friends and family to have pizza and cupcakes at the park. The theme was Paw Patrol because it’s your favorite!

Ruby’s 10th and 11th months

10 months

11 months

 It’s a good thing we only have one more of these because we’re definitely going downhill with these monthly pictures


Firsts: crawling, pulling up, beach trip, taste of ice cream and whole milk, Kiddie Carnival, ride on a carousel, fourth of July fireworks, drive-in movie

Favorite Toy/Activity: dancing, if there isn’t a song on  you click your tongue to make your own beat 

Mommy’s Favorite: Your dance moves 


Daddy’s Favorite: When you say hey to him and get all excited to see him. He is definitely your favorite person right now! 

Lily’s Favorite: When you try to talk 

Scott’s Favorite: When you play in his bedroom with him 

Milestones: you’ve transitioned from formula to whole milk, you are in 12 month clothes, you are crawling and pulling up, you are pointing or reaching out to people or things you want 

Weight/Length: I’m guessing you are somewhere between 20-23 pounds

Like Mommy: Your hair is getting lighter and showing signs of being curly 

Like Daddy: You are content and easily pleased 

Like Lily: Most mornings you wake up in a good mood and occasionally you will stay in bed and talk before we come to get you

Like Scott: You love milk! 

Best Memory: Your first beach trip with Granny Rosie, which was also her last beach trip with all of us 

Biggest Challenge: You finally got some teeth. 4 came in at the same time which meant you were fussy, cranky, snotty, and in pain for at least two weeks. 

How We Spend the Day: You are up around 7 in the morning, usually after Mommy, Lily, and Scott are gone for school. You have some milk and breakfast then Daddy takes you to school. You play, eat, sleep, learn at school until Mommy picks you up in the afternoon. Once you are home, you eat a snack and play with Lily and Scott until dinner time. You eat whatever Mommy cooks for dinner and are in bed by 7:30 every night. 

Nicknames: Wuby Jeams

Funniest Moment: No moment in particular, but your personality is really starting to shine and it’s so fun to watch! 

Words: “Daaaadee” is daddy and baby. “Hey” while pointing means you want keys or a phone. You also have picked up on the fact that when you need someone you yell their name over and over again until you get that person’s attention, so when someone else is yelling a name you start yelling things too. I mean, why not? 


Coming Up: Your first birthday party! 


First time to ride the carousel

Precious memories with Granny Rosie on your first beach trip and her last

You had such a fun summer with Lily and Scott

First movie and first time at the drive-in! We saw The BFG. 

First taste of ice cream 

Enjoying some time with Pop in Mentone

Watching the fireworks on the fourth of July! 

You and your hair are WILD! 

I think this may be my favorite picture of you

Hanging out with your cousin Mav at the beach

First time at Kiddie Carnival. It was hot and you were miserable. This is also how mommy looked all night. 

Just checking out the dog food

Lazy morning at the beach 

Last Wright family beach trip with Granny Rosie. She passed away on Monday, August 8, 2016. 

With your namesakes after Granny Rosie’s funeral. Your great grandmothers Ruby (left) and Jean (right).