Thursday, May 31, 2012

Whispers of Thanksgiving

It's Sunday. We're on the porch. The air is heavy and sweet. Gold sun presses through limbs of a century old maple. The ice cream maker whirs and spins. The day is calm. Quiet.


Life abounds. Gathered on the porch swing. On wicker chairs. One son holds a younger boy. My dad's brown arms hold another. Conversation is light as the whispering breeze. Here we gather. Under this old roof. Once again.

Miracle blessings are real.

From His mercy we breathe deep.

And we are very grateful...

Thank you, Lord, for sustaining grace. For calling your children to pray. Thank you to all who prayed, the sweet, vast number, who held us in your hearts and in your prayers. Thank you for calling on your friends to pray, your families, your churches, your circles of connection and life. Thank you to those who were at the site...for holding us, praying with us, for reaching for our hands, for singing and crying and waiting for word. Thank you to those who came in the night, who cared for our children, who brought food and water and love and support. Thank you to the rescue heroes, who gave all they had, without hesitation, in selfless bravery and love. Their willingness to give, over and over, staying late, going deep, holding drills, bringing oxygen, being the will always steal my breath. Thank you to those at the hospital, those who cared for Logan and prepared for his arrival hours and hours in advance...

Provision after provision. Mercy after mercy.

All gifts from Him.

So today we'll feel the sun on our shoulders. We'll soak in all that is sweet and normal and everyday and good. We'll laugh. We'll listen. We'll celebrate this quiet day.  But we'll do it with changed lives, with eyes that see things differently, with hearts that beat by grace,

and with whispers of gratitude on our lips.

Thank you...

Monday, May 28, 2012


Thanks, sweet friends, for the prayers, e-mails, calls...

Logan is doing well. Blessings continue to flow.

I'm doing well,too. Living a little slow. Drinking deep. Loving the life around me.

Will be back on Thursday with regular M/Th posts. Thanks for checking in. You're a blessing, too...

But for now I'm going to curl around the little ones as they sleep, listen to the heart of my firstborn son, tell Grant that I love him even (especially) in front of his friends, slip my hand into the hand of the man I love,

and whisper heart-felt praise.

See you Thursday.

With love,


Monday, May 21, 2012


If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

Psalm 139:8-10

Lord, thank you for Your countless mercies, Your unfaltering presence, Your strength and encouragement and compassion and grace-filled waysA million details woven together, in Your care, held in Your hand...

Thursday, May 17, 2012

In a Name (Family Identity)

My friend Sena and I were lost in her son's bedroom closet. Sorting through toddler clothes. Catching up. Talking like wild.

We were both taking a Growing Kids God's Way class, and we were anxious to share ideas about creating a family identity. Something for our kids to be proud of. Something that shows what it means to be born-into-our-clans kids.

"I'd like to have a catchy name. Just for us. We could have fun with it, but it would  express what's important to our family, too," she said.

"What's important to your family?" I asked, though I already knew.

"Praise," she said. "I want the kids to learn to praise the Lord always." She thought for a moment while pressing a stack of too-small shorts into a plastic box. "Hallelujah," she said. "The Hallelujah Hagedorns."

Sounded good to me.

"What about you?" she asked.

I'd been teaching the boys for years, using the term boys of excellence. Not in a prideful way. But in a heart's-desire-to-be-excellent for the Lord way. Excellent in loving him. Excellent in serving him. Learning about Him. Surrendering to Him. Seeking Him. Sharing Him. And always, always, as we all fall short of His glory, excellent in receiving His grace.

"Excellent Eliasen's," I said.

She smiled.

It's been a couple of years, and we're still using the name, quietly in our home. It's not work-based to earn His favor. Jesus' grace-gift took care of that.

And it's not a boast of our own goodness (There is no one righteous, not even one.. Romans 3:10)

But it is an excellence of gladness for His blood and His activity in our lives (For it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast. Romans 2:9).

It's a hope, a prayer, of what my sons will become.

It's a confidence in His work in their lives (The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever - do not abandon the works of your hands. Psalm 138:8).

It's a celebration of Him.

Now in that we can rejoice.




Monday, May 14, 2012

Real Forgiveness, Love, and Grace

I'm sitting on the top step of the front porch. It's quiet here and I need something still. I fleck peeling paint with my fingers and tip my head away from the deep blue of the sky.

Sadness. Regret. And a little bit of shame. It swallows me up. Time and words cannot be snatched back.

I've struggled, lately, with a hard attitude that wants to run loose. I wish I'd taken it to the Lord. I wish I'd placed it in His hands.

Instead I let it push out. Sharp words on tender hearts. Edges of me that pressed hard into the ones I love.

I know I'm forgiven. Christ has covered that. But there's gray in the house and it's hard to sweep away.

A consequence of sin running free.

The porch door creaks and I hear soft steps. Zay. He sits beside me and he's quiet, too. The toe of his tennis shoe prods the edges of paint stripping free.

We sit for a few minutes. He begins to talk about the river. The birds. The scab on his right knee.

Then he stands.

His arms stretch wide.

He bends his wrists, curls his fingers, and he lets his playground-brown knuckles touch.

"Do you know," he says, "when you put your arms like this, it makes a heart?"

I look at my son. His hair is too long again. His green eyes are bright behind a heavy fringe. His smile is a little crooked. And his small arms, though bent to make a lop-sided heart, have stretched straight into my soul.

I don't know if he understands what he's doing for me, if the forgiveness is his or if it's God's sweet grace, wrapped in a child's arms, in timing that could be only His.

It doesn't matter.

I pull Zay close. Those arms wrap around my neck. He climbs to my lap and we just sit. He smells of play and sun and shampoo and all things little boy.

And forgiveness is rich and sweet.

I push back a lock of hair and whisper in his ear.

"No, Zay, I didn't know."

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Gift of Sweet, High Calling ~ Happy Mother's Day

The house is quiet. Even the corners. Where there had been, hours ago, great rushes of boyhood and energy and life, there is nothing but still.

The night is clear and the moon shines high and bright. Hazy light stretches through century-worn windows. I stand in the center of it all, our home, and let my eyes rove pieces of our day. Lego creation on the floor. Checkers spilling from a box. A book. A ball. Two army men, plastic and green and small.

It's time rest. The days are full. But I can't sleep.

So I climb the winding stairs, where five sons, up above, breathe soft and still with peace.There is fullness. Such joy. A completeness- of- heart when each bed is full.

The room on the right. The wall curves like it's there to cup him, to hold him. But he's the size of a man. He's grown steady and solid and strong. The walls aren't meant to keep him. But for tonight, as he rests, I'm grateful.

Another son. Big and strong but curled like a babe. Body of a man. Heart of a child. My own heart aches to see him, to hear his life in whispers of sleep. Time here is short. I want to make the most. I know that boys grow and pages turn and today becomes a memory fast.

The three small boys. Tumbles of too-long blond. Browning arms and legs. An elbow pokes out, scraped and scabbed, the fresh wounds of spring. A bare foot. There's still a favorite blanket among the twist, red and worn, a faithful friend. A scrap of childhood. A fabric of him.

And I stand among the wonder. A mama, wrapped in bedclothes, wrapped in memory, wrapped in life.

And I'm still. Still as the house. Still as the night. Still over the blessing. That He would give these sons to me.

Beating hearts. Spirits strong. Flesh and blood beauty. There's honor in keeping these lives. To mold them and hold them without clutching or pressing tight. To teach them. To lead them. To open doors they'll walk through alone. To protect. Then prepare. To lean so far into the next generation, into the will-be world, that sometimes there's strain and it feels like we'll crack.

To pray that they'll love the Lord and hold His Word. That their character would reflect Him. In the lives of these five a glimpse of His glory would be revealed.

There's honor in growing a man.

It's time now to rest. My heart is satisfied. I descend the stairs. Stepping past shadows. Leaving another day.

But I'm moved at the blessing. This sweet, high calling.

I am a mother.

This grace-gift is mine.

Happy Mother's Day Beautiful Friends! And especially to you, My Precious Mama, for loving with passion, for stretching deep, for faithfulness and perseverance and a love that won't end. For teaching me life, showing me how to love, and for helping me understand this sweet gift that's ours....

I love you.

Monday, May 7, 2012

In His Glorious Goodness - Seeing the Fruit

In celebration of her birthday, our dear friend Dee and her husband Jim came over for dinner.
The boys wanted to honor her by making gifts, setting the table, and baking a cake.

That part I knew.

But after dinner, after lively conversation, sweet engagement, candles and song, we retired to the living room to talk.

Jim sat by Dee. Lonny and I sank into wing chairs. And the dear boys settled on the floor.

They rustled a box of Legos. They went to the schoolroom for coloring books and crayons. They settled down, quiet, and let the adults share.

For the next hour-and-a-half, they were happy to not be the center. They were pleased to be close, but they were content.Simply content. Completely content. Wonderfully, beautifully, honoring content.

That part I didn't expect.

And my mama-heart broke with pride. Not the haughty-proud kind (I know, from experience, that some sort of humbling parenting event follows this sort of pride) but the God-honoring, Praise the Lord, Thank You for Letting Me Raise These Kids Kind. The kind that makes you hold a hushed smile, still and steady, right in the center of your heart.

 Because in His glorious goodness, at the end of the day, sometimes God lets us see the fruit.

 The ripe, sweet, Because-of-Him fruit.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

When It's Spinning Too Fast - Great is Thy Faithfulness

We're in the van, caught in the loop of a great thread of yellow school buses and Grant is fretting because it's close to eight and it's likely he's late.

I think about the day's agenda and I start to fret a little too.

It's all good stuff. All good things. Then guilt over fretting the-good comes hard and fast. I try to push it away but the sinking feeling is that maybe I'm not tending hearts as well as I'm tending commitments and chores.

There's school between nine and twelve. Then an obligation, out of town, after that. Home for dinner and Lonny's back from out of town and he's never cared about the status of the house but strands from last night's spaghetti are crispy and curled under the table. Logan's room needs to be made ready because Praise the Lord he's coming home and the boys' bathroom should be in better shape that in a guys' college dorm. There are no groceries in the house and I'd like for there to be homemade cookies under cake pedestal glass and how can I make that dinner after all...

And the boys...the boys...will I hold them enough today? Listen? Teach them about God's love?

Is it possible, when I'm task-driven and running like wild? How can I do the things that matter most?

I whisper out to the Lord and the answer comes wrapped in grace, soft and mighty, a beautiful truth bound in love...

because just then, on the radio, Fernando Ortega sings of His faithfulness.

Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed
His hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness
Lord unto me.

The pressures are settled and the panic stops short. It will be okay. In His strength. Not mine. Because all I've needed He has provided.

Great is His faithfulness.

Lord unto me.

Father, please provide wisdom and discernment. Energy and time. And most of all, provide those reminders that what I really need is You.

Link to Great is Thy Faithfulness - Fernando Ortega