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

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

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!