It’s my birthday.

I live in love.

My son is in the hospital.

His sisters, his step-Coop, his dad, his mom, his step-sibs and his partner have hearts so full of love for him and we are not alone in that.

He’s surrounded by skilled diagnosticians, is Jameson.

He is patient and dear and sick and this being witness as his body seeks its wisdom is hard heart work.

And, he lives in love.

And all manner of things shall be well.

vigil keeping

“Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans”. John Lennon

In the thread-the-needle that is daily life scheduling, this summer was planned oh so carefully.

And then life happened.

Having just come out of the Boundary Waters with a group of youth I received a text: Son Jameson was in the emergency room with unspecified misery.

The drive home was endless. He was discharged. He was brought back the next day with more howling pain and admitted to the hospital and is yet at home recovering.

This on top of the death of my nephew has stuttered my life-cramming ways.

I was supposed to attend a conference in southern Wisconsin. I had looked forward to it all summer.

I didn’t go. I stayed home and kept vigil and thanked God for the opportunity to be present to my son and to the needs of my heart.

Really. Conferences and calendar cramming will all pass away.

People do too.

Having witnessed the searing pain of son loss, I got to son tend.

Life happens.

thanks giving

Tonight is free and open and odd.

My youngest had a birthday yesterday, and my two oldest are bound out of state for Thanksgiving, so we celebrated with the bird and the hoopla on Monday night.

Which leaves tonight free, open, and odd.

I had thought I would relish having the feast and the preparation behind me, but I don’t.  One of my favorite mornings all year is Thanksgiving morning spent listening to MPR while making stuffing and all the other things that make for tradition.

For everything there is a season, this I know.

I’m full of gratitude for the Monday night festivities and for the chance to gather to celebrate the gift of Jameson to this world.  He is a tender wise sparkle of a man, and it was gift to stuff his college-student-deprived body full of food.  We had four out of six kids here, and the shine of love lingers yet.  Birthday candles matter.

So I’m not complaining; that would be obscene.

My gratitude list is so very long.

And, this night is so free, open, and odd.

So it is.



My phone rang at three this morning.

On the line was my daughter, sobbing.

Most times that combo platter would strike terror in my heart but not last night.  The tears sprang from joy.  After months of leaving full time work to phone bank and organize for the defeat of the marriage amendment, after spending months with her partner gone to the trenches of voter ID battle, Leah heard the voice of her beloved state speak.

What she heard was that in Minnesota, we don’t countenance legislated barricades to full inclusion.

That is a voice the world and our state sore need to hear.

Tears indeed.  Gratitude and wonder and hope live.

Here in Minnesota, they live.



Tomorrow my eldest turns 28.

I was 28 when she happened into my heart.

I look at her face and savor her being and realize gratitude so exquisite it pains my heart.

Leah’s was a scary delivery.  Not too many details, I promise, but by the time they had decided it was time to deliver her via surgery her vitals were compromised and as they put me under in the midst of great consternation all I could do was pray.

When I awoke there was this baby.  A girl baby healthy, blond-fuzzed, inquisitive and somehow grounded and she was alive alive alive and my heart has not ceased its gratitude song since.

Parenting is a most holy act of stewardship.  Our days are marked with the unfolding of miracle celebrated in the mundane: smiles and steps and words and hugs.  Small hands held in our own grow to reach out into the world touching in ways powerful and unique.

This morning I shared birthday brunch with my three babies and the birthday girl’s beloved.  Leah’s posse basked in her beauty and celebrated her being.

Following the feast, Leah and I went shopping for suitable clothes for a woman newly hired in a job tailor-made for her (she is working for Woman Venture, an organization that provides support for women starting businesses).

As we walked together on an amazingly fine October morning, she put her hand in mine.

Oh, for a thousands tongues to sing.


We are rooted.

Today the Roto-rooter team is coming to pulverize our basement floor in order to tame the roots that have taken over our sewage system.

@#$% indeed!

Cooper spent a fine Wednesday dealing with the geysers that erupted in our basement.

Today we live into the healing of the problem, complete with a 24 hour no-water-use edict.

This root addressing comes on the heels of a wedding weekend that still has my heart humming.  Family came together to celebrate the wedding of Cooper’s youngest and on the dance floor and throughout the weekend we were a weaving of those who have gone before us and so very powerfully we participated in weaving that which is yet to be.

Blending families is no small adventure.  Those seeking to create the new are rooted in systems unquestioned and ways of being passed on from generation to generation.  In coming together through divorce and re-marriage, the ground shifts and sometimes it feels like nothing will ever feel stable again.

But oh, the fruit of years of negotiating and breathing and praying is heart luscious!

We are a different people now.  Somehow, in marking the powerful rite of passage that comes in joining families and hearts, we know ourselves to be rooted and grounded in amazing grace and we are whole and we know this.

We know this.

So the roots strangling our pipes?  They can be dealt with and matter not much (except for the obscene amount of money leaving our house with them).

The roots that ground and nourish heart are alive and well and we are family and thank you thank you thank you God for roots.

Ground is good.



On this day twenty five years ago, I met a person whose elbows and feet I had come to know well.

Daughter Rachel Mackenzie has never been without zest.

She was born with a fluff of white hair on her head and a frown of displeasure at the cold reality of her greatly-changed circumstances.

That sense of “what?!” has served her well.

Along with a magnetic-quality openness to life that has prompted her to drink deeply of being, Rachel’s “what?!” has seemed to alert her to possibility.

There are times of grumble, to be sure, but from this mother’s perspective, Rachel has decided to seek grace in the midst of most any adventure.  She is a woman possessed of great grit.

When we moved to Minneapolis before her Junior year in High School, she learned that making life means interacting with people; no matter how rocky and wretched circumstances are, people are antidote.

She built a life and friendships that sustain her yet.

Her “what?!” about the way the earth is consumed by greed has led her to advocacy for the living thing that is the earth.

And the “what?!” seems to have engendered in her a wicked sense of humor.  Long ago I gave up trying to be really angry with her.  She can wiggle me into laughter with the deft touch of an artist.

It’s a tricky thing, nattering on about the wonders of my kids.

It isn’t hard to do, given that daily I am moved by the gift of their being.

It’s tricky because words are mighty small things.

I don’t know how to thank God for the gift of Rachel Mackenzie.

It is honor to be her student.



Ah, Saturday.  The living is easy.

Living in the same town as all three of my children makes me crazy grateful.  The pink scooter ferried Jameson and me to a rendezvous with daughter Rachel and out-of-town niece Chelsea.  We met at the bakery where daughter Leah is working.  Coffee and delectables on a sunny Saturday in Minneapolis is nearly as good as it gets.

This afternoon I will meet up with the eight other women heading into the Boundary Waters on Monday.  We will pack and check and double check our provisions and begin to get a sense of who we will be together.

Often times I wonder if I have time for these BWCA trips.  Being away from the church and the web of relationships that are mine to be present to is hard.  But every year as we put the canoes in the water and take the first paddle stroke I know myself to be home.  And every year, the building of relationships between those who venture out into the wild is priceless gift.  Being vulnerable and resourceful together changes everything.

And so it is in or out of the BWCA: being vulnerable and resourceful together changes everything.

Life is a good thing.



The computer is set up in the basement.

A nest has been feathered.

Jameson is home.  Just for a time he is cloistering himself in our home in order to do all things necessary for finals.  We have internet, true, but I suspect he is tapping into a wisdom that tells him that his chances of being led not into play temptation are greater while residing at home.

I purr when there are offspring about.  I suppose a lot of it has to do with the fact that I just can’t seem to get over the wonder of their being.  And, I really like them.  Between Cooper and myself we have six interesting, engaged and dangerously funny people we get to call children.  It’s amazing.

Having these opportunities to share morning coffee and informal down time are precious.  Finals will end and Jamie will be off to the house he shares with countless others.

For a time, though, some homing instinct in his heart led him here.

My heart gives thanks for the simple wonder of love; that’s all.

That’s everything.

love looks like

One of my daughters is doctoring these days.  She has a befuddling quirk in her body that sometimes kicks into pain.  She is in one such time.

In the God is good category, she is working with the best doctor in the region.  He has carved out a specialty around her rare issue.  Today, he shoehorned her into his schedule.

The appointment was for eight AM.  The last time she encountered this issue, her sister was in lands far distant.  This time, she lives in town.  So, given the kind of calvary we are, three of us schlepped down to the Main U to get some answers and to hear about what is next.

Here is who we were:  we were mother and two daughters huddled around the stunning gift that is shared love.  The doctor was gracious about the small mob in the examining room.  Tests were ordered and explanations offered.  Time will tell us things, as will the magnificent gift that is my daughter’s body.

How to breathe thanks for love and support and presence?  How to name the priceless gift that is care offered and received?

We cannot take away her pain.  Would that we could.

But we can love.

And she lets us.