Semi cab confession.

“The waving wheat, it sure smells sweet, when the wind comes right behind the rain…”


We spent Saturday in the cab of a farm semi truck hauling grain to the local elevator. This activity meant hours of waiting, hours of quiet, hours of observation. As a foreigner in this world of harvest, it has been so interesting to watch the family dynamic, to sit in the backseat and observe a new generation learning how to drive a tractor that pulls the grain cart, to hear the banter between brothers or among father and son.

I must confess, being the wordy person that I am, that I have a hard time with this family tradition when mixed with family dynamic. It’s a well-oiled machine for the family, everyone knowing their place and their responsibility, so quick to do what needs to be done, compensating for each other’s weaknesses or shortcomings, enjoying the heat and sweat and the dirt and chaff blowing in the wind, speaking the language of moisture content and test weight.

If I were in charge of the world, I would throw a little fit when a machine broke down or someone wasn’t pulling their weight or dinner was late in coming to the field or the elevator’s technology broke down resulting in major delays for everyone waiting in line or a part couldn’t be located or the repair shop closed minutes before the desperate call was made or darkness and evening dew took over with only a row or two left.

It’s a good thing I am not in charge of the world.

And it is a beautiful thing that God is.

Walking from the semi to the pickup last night at 9:45 to end the day, it was most wonderful. I witnessed a brilliant evening sky with just a hint of pink left on the horizon and the moon and stars lighting the way. Lightning bugs twinkled all around me in the cool stillness. The smell of sweet cut wheat straw that crunched underfoot delighted my senses.

And the quiet.

The quiet was like a symphony of night bugs mixed with the steady low hum of combine finishing the last row in the distance before shutting down for the day. I thought for half a second that I needed to take a picture to share, but opening the iPad would have spoiled the beauty and desecrated the God-given moment and gift.

I am most grateful for the backseat observatory, for a glimpse into this wonderful world of a farm family, all pulling together for two weeks in the summer and fall, because there is work to be done, because the harvest is plenty and the laborers are few, because this is tradition, this is what family does.


A reminder to B+.

Today, I met Ashley the phlebotomist. I didn’t like her. Not because she stuck my finger and made me scream silently inside. Not because she stuck me with an enormous needle and removed lots of blood. I didn’t like her because,  1) she was young and kind of treated me like I was old, 2) she was young and not very friendly, okay not friendly at all, 3) she was young and was either on crack or just operates her daily work life going 423 MPH.

And, I decided not to have conversation with this young rude phlebotomist, because she didn’t have time for conversation and I wasn’t going to give her the satisfaction of a kind word.

And then, she put me on the table, tightened the band around my arm, and before I could blink twice, the needle was in, she was off to find blood tubes and labels, and I sat there, humbled, and in awe.

This girl was no joke. She wasn’t your typical young person. There was no laziness. There was no sloppiness. There was no playing around with co-workers. There were NO MISTAKES. Only complete efficiency and professionalism, from start to finish.

I lightened up and swallowed my middle age pride. As I slid off the table, I told Ashley the phlebotomist and every one of her co-workers nearby that if I could, I would request her and follow her to every American Red Cross location when it was time to donate in three months.

I love that I am B+ but I sure started out my donation as B-. So, I am grateful for my blood type. I am grateful for Ashley the phlebotomist supergirl who surprised me and restored a little hope for the next generation of young adults.

Speaking of hope for the next generation of young adults, I received my first text message this afternoon from my CASA girl, asking to use me as a reference on a job application. Made. My. Day. I love my girl.

And lastly, I am grateful for the Jim Gaffigan Food book that Katrina and Zak sent to me. I was on that Red Cross table in a hotel ballroom full of strangers today, thoroughly enjoying the words that had me giggling out loud while Ashley the phlebotomist supergirl zapped me of my B+ blood.

Obsessed – to preoccupy the mind of someone excessively.


That is correct. Thank you, Linda. This was my evening, and when I am normally drooping at about 9:30, I was wide awake awake awake, and then 10:30 rolled on by, and I was wide awake awake awake… And I even dreamed about soapy puzzling. I am grateful for an obsession better than Facebook. I am grateful for Linda who thought of me and sent me this addiction.

And this morning, my day has already begun with a walk in the steamy morning, entertainment in the back yard by an entire bluejay family and I’m sure the young guy sitting on top of the tomato trellis is our baby friend. His mom and dad are still feeding him, this time a morsel of sunflower seed from the feeder. Oh how he’s grown in such a short time. And then beauty – beauty in the form of one small puff of cottonwood cotton, hanging in the stillness, suspended in the sunbeam shining through the garage door.

I am obsessed. Obsessed with a puzzle that occupies my mind and takes it from worry. Obsessed with the counting, the noticing, the acknowledgment of every. last. thing.

Open your hands and your heart to receive the day as a precious gift from Me. I begin each day with a sunrise, announcing My radiant Presence. By the time you rise from your bed, I have already prepared the way before you. I eagerly await your first conscious thought. I rejoice when you glance My way.

Bring Me the gift of thanksgiving, which opens your heart to rich communion with Me. Because I am God, from whom ALL blessings flow, thankfulness is the best way to draw near Me. Sing praise songs to Me; tell Me of My wondrous works. Remember that I take great delight in you; I rejoice over you with singing. – Sarah Young, Jesus Calling

I am grateful that He is singing over me this morning.

For all of this. I am grateful.

I am grateful for Melissa’s Texas accent.

I am grateful for Jennifer Dukes Lee and her powerful writing today. READ IT:


If you didn’t read it, READ. IT.

1. I am grateful for Linda and her FANTASTIC surprise she sent to me!!

2. I am grateful for Geri and her voice that soothes my soul.

3. I am grateful for Sam and the thrill of riding on the back of the bike with him, wind blowing in our faces.

4. I am grateful for chocolate custard from Freddie’s on a hot summer evening under the beautiful night sky.

5. I am grateful for Tyler, a wonderful young man who is always willing to help with a huge smile and an attitude to match.

6. I am grateful for the privilege of keeping Natia for a few days.

7. I am grateful for vacations.

“I only deepen the wound of the world when I neglect to give thanks for early light dappled through leaves and the heavy perfume of wild roses in early July and the song of crickets on humid nights and the rivers that run and the stars that rise and the rain that falls and all the good things that a good God gives.” – Ann Voskamp

If I could give you the world, I would.

Since Dad moved in, I’ve thought about this summer.

I had these lofty dreams in my head that he would have season tickets for the Royals games and would spend his afternoons and evenings at Kauffman Stadium.

But, the Royals kind of messed that dream up by winning. And winning means money. Lots of it. Which is something I lack.

So, the spring and summer so far has consisted of evenings at home in front of the TV, while just a few miles down the road, everyone else gets to see and hear the crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd, the chest bumps and high fives between the players…in person.

But, I saved my pennies and my sister and I were able to spend Father’s Day with our Dad in the stands at the stadium. What an opportunity and a huge blessing it was to be there. Even though the outcome was EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTING, which made the day that much more memorable, and even though the 90+ degree forecast turned out to be completely wrong and we sat through sprinkles and got slightly chilled in the breeze, sitting next to my Dad watching the Royals in such a beautiful stadium was all worth it.

My Dad loves the Royals. I am so grateful that I am privileged to hear his play-by-play in the evenings as he watches. I am so grateful that I am privileged to hear him chuckle when one of the guys hits a line drive down the middle or makes a double play to end the inning. He loves to watch Hosmer shoot the breeze with a runner on first in between pitches. He loves to anticipate Dyson stealing a base. He LOVES to talk about his favorite player, Salvador Perez, who pretty much is the whole reason the Royals are so royal in his opinion, and the game isn’t over until Salvy dumps the ice water on the chosen player being interviewed.

I am so grateful that I am experiencing baseball with my Dad in this season of life.

On Sunday morning, our pastor finished the baseball sermon series with a powerful message. He challenged the children to step up to the plate and take responsibility for our part of the relationship with our Dads. He challenged the Dads to never quit being the Dad, to encourage their children even in adulthood and share their faith every chance they get, every time they come to the plate.  It was such a great message.  You can watch it, here:

A Field of Dreams

At the end of the message, this was the song to end the service.

“The Living Years”

Every generation
Blames the one before
And all of their frustrations
Come beating on your door

I know that I’m a prisoner
To all my Father held so dear
I know that I’m a hostage
To all his hopes and fears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years

Crumpled bits of paper
Filled with imperfect thought
Stilted conversations
I’m afraid that’s all we’ve got

You say you just don’t see it
He says it’s perfect sense
You just can’t get agreement
In this present tense
We all talk a different language
Talking in defense

Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
It’s too late when we die
To admit we don’t see eye to eye

So we open up a quarrel
Between the present and the past
We only sacrifice the future
It’s the bitterness that lasts

So don’t yield to the fortunes
You sometimes see as fate
It may have a new perspective
On a different date
And if you don’t give up, and don’t give in
You may just be O.K.

Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
It’s too late when we die
To admit we don’t see eye to eye

I wasn’t there that morning
When my Father passed away
I didn’t get to tell him
All the things I had to say

I think I caught his spirit
Later that same year
I’m sure I heard his echo
In my baby’s new born tears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years

Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
It’s too late when we die
To admit we don’t see eye to eye

I want my Dad to know, while I still have the opportunity to tell him and the world, that if I could, I would give him the world. If I could, I would make all of his dreams come true. If I could, I would bring Mom back to sit with him in the evenings and cheer on the Royals with us. If I could, I would do anything and everything to make his life as wonderful and as full as he has made mine.  It is such a privilege to spend this season of life with him, and I am so grateful to sit at the dinner table and hold his hand during prayer. I am so grateful to laugh with him when our guys score a run. I am so grateful to watch him watch the birds. I am so grateful to hear him talk about the latest book he’s reading or the email he received. I am so grateful that he is exploring the neighborhood, OUR neighborhood, and getting more and more comfortable with Overland Park. I am so grateful that he calls me to ask a question or get directions. I am so grateful to spend a few minutes in the garage with him, working on Mom’s hope chest together. I am so grateful to go to church with him every Sunday. I am so grateful for the moments we have in this season. I love you, Dad. You are, in my world, FOREVER ROYAL.


Are you the cleaner-up-per or the messer-up-per?

I went into the women’s restroom, that place where the roly-polys hang out, that place where some un-named seemingly professional women DO NOT WASH THEIR HANDS WITH SOAP, that place where some women go to remove their masks if only for a few moments.

And what did I find, what do I continually find?

Toilet paper pieces strewn on the floor at the base of the toilets in their stalls. Drips of water splashed on the mirror and all over the counters. Soap strings and droplets that didn’t quite make it into the compliant hands.

I bent down to pick up the pieces on the floor, and was startled by a “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!”  This woman appalled was scolding me for touching the unclean. I was appalled that she was appalled.

I am grateful that my Mom taught me to clean even in the “not my space” areas.

I am grateful that I am a cleaner-up-per in public restrooms. I saw a young woman wiping down the shiny faucets in the same restroom the other day, and even though she was from another culture, I felt like we were SISTERS!  We laughed and laughed about how horrifying it is that these masked women in this building feel they can come into “our” space and drip and drool and drop and destroy our clean.

Therefore, I am grateful for these masked women. They give me purpose and meaning in the space known as the women’s 1st floor public restroom of Building 27.

I am grateful for Natia’s little howl.

I am grateful for the smell of tires.

I am grateful for new chapters.

I am grateful for five days with Natia.

I am grateful that I live in a home with no handguns.

I am grateful for soft dirt to pull weeds.

I am grateful for opportunities to volunteer.

I am grateful to be asked to help.

I am grateful for memories of Mom today.

I am grateful for lettuce not too brown.

I am grateful for solitude.

I am grateful for the ability to write my pent up anger, deepest hurts, fondest memories, and greatest joys.

I am grateful for painkillers for a toothache.

I am grateful for thank you notes.

I am grateful for Meghan and her example to forgive and forget quickly.

And I am grateful for chicken tacos.