My dryer is broken.

One day I ran to the screeching and threw open the door to find our load of laundry torn and blackened and ruined.

Over the years, we have ordered parts for this problem, fixed it, ordered more parts, fixed it…

But this time, we are just letting it sit. Broken.

We think it may be time for a new one.

I have the woodstove, I say to my Love, and the clothes will dry pretty quickly until we get a new dryer. I don’t use a dryer for everything anyway, I say.

We will save on electricity this Winter, too, until it gets warm enough to hang the clothes outside, I say to him, so let’s not try to get a new one quite yet. We have other things we need to take care of and pay for first.

And so I started hanging clothes downstairs on drying racks and on the back of chairs and wherever I could find an elevated spot near the drying warmth of the woodfire.

{I smile when I say:: It kind of adds to the going-back-in-time-homeschooling-breadmaking-working-in-the-home thing we’ve got going on… and it makes me chuckle and makes him tease me when I laugh about it.}

So, everyday, I do at least a load of laundry. A couple of active kids, living in the woods, a husband-mechanic-woodsman-who-likes-to-get-his-hands-dirty, in and out pets and my penchant for clean towels all of the time kind of make for at least a load everyday.

So I wash. So I dry. So I fold.

{note: but I hate to put away.}

and, at the beginning, even though I was the one that said it was fine, I was bemoaning the hanging up of wet, dripping sweaters and  and sheets and blankets, as it was taking time from school, life and other things I thought I need to be or {wanted to be or was too distracted by} doing.

And then it happened slowly, or I should say:::

I realized it slowly…

how much I loved hanging up my laundry… how it slowed me down… how it gifted me time and quietude in the middle of our schedules.. silly? Maybe a little:::

Each early morning, after my load or two was washed clean and rinsed free and spun out and made new again,

The kids would start their chores upstairs and

I would carry the soaked and heavy baskets downstairs and start hanging this dripping pile of mine– the mound piled up in front of me… weighing me down…

Standing near the you-can’t-beat-the-cozy-warmth-of-the-woodstove heat, I would begin.

I would hang a dishcloth sopping with worry over here:

And a shirt stained with joylessness over there:

Maybe pants soggy with too-much-on-my-need-to-get-it-all-done-list:

and here, a pillowcase filled with doubt:

and drape some socks: a hole-y pair of weary and tired-out:

Finding their way out of my hands and into His…

… and hanging the heap up: one by one.

And the soiled hamper of my shortcomings and guilts and sins and empty-heart-spots

would start to empty out, too: one by one.

::::: and I pray.


Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in thanksgiving… :::Colossians 4

I began to find myself praying and petitioning and praising and pinning:::

up my burdens:::

and hanging them up and giving them all:::

to Him and hope-expecting them to dry the weight of it all right out- right there in His presence.

I found time with Him in the still and warmth He mercy-gave me in the middle of my mundane.

The chores humdrum:::

that hum a hopeful, happier heart.

And, today, three months by, my wash has changed me.

::::my washing has changed me.

I look expectantly to the moments when my disheveled and sullied self stands before Him, in the early morning or in the late afternoon or the times in between when

He and I…

we spend time together… doing laundry.

And I stand amazed.

The King of Kings meets me wherever I am, even as I hang up my laundry… and He washes me clean.


Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  ::: Psalm 51









She was sitting at the table, bound:::

by a science lesson left undone and a sunny day-outside with school work-inside and some grumbling.

Grumbling had been on our breakfast plate in the morning, with a side of complaint and a drink of a little bit tired.

We had talked about it, as we have been for days, we talked about grumbling and prayerfulness and cheerfulness and singing songs that keep our hearts singing steadfast, even when it’s hard.

And we know, some days are just plain raw and hard.

And then we all got to our morning work.

:::: … and the people grumbled… ::: Exodus 15


I had fifteen things left undone, not to mention my grumbling heart.

And she said it quick and it flew straight as the arrow piercing my undone flesh ::: boring through with naked truth.

“You aren’t even acting like my momma right now. My momma is nice to me even when she’s frustrated with me. She talks with love to me even when she doesn’t like what I’m doing.”


She was right. She was sincere. She was undone in little girl tears and I was undone in crankiness and conviction.


{We had sat around the breakfast bagels in the morning, rainbow roses blooming a promise of hope in the center, we read Psalm 8, her favorite, and prayed about our plan for the day, knowing and praying the Lord may have a different plan, but that was ours, anyway.


His plan was different, and better,

and harder [and more beautiful}.

But His plans are the ones we had prayed for when we gathered at the morning table, right?


So, I teetered on the slippery edge of pride and wanting to spark and spit some flaming words :::

:::: I-am-your-mother-get-your-work-done-I’ve-told-you-500-times-and-this-day-stinks-and-I-had-this-all-planned-out-with-school-and-cleaning-and-spic-and-span-dishes-before-your-father-gets-home-and-we-are-doing-crafts-today-and-your-work-isn’t-done-and-I-am-tired-of-disobedience-and-I-have-a-list-a-mile-long-and-you-don’t-wanna-go-to-school-til-July-do-you? ::::

::: that whole statement rolling around in my head and starting its pompous stroll down my tongue :::

as I watched her shrink with wet rivulets like a tiny rill spilling on her sweet face and I watched her pull back her little-girl heart into a deeper place I couldn’t :::

that this momma wouldn’t:::

be able to reach:::

if He didn’t help me get this heart- thing right.

And I heard her words.

and I remembered His:::

::: you will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart… ::: Jeremiah 29

And I looked straight at her.

And I stopped.

I stopped everything I was doing.

The only thing still moving was my heart, praying to turn this thing around and beat like His.


every.thing.stopped.                       ::::: by His grace.

because He was the only One who could tidy this undone mess up.

And I walked over to her small hands and held them and took her blue eyes to mine and breathed out slow:::

And I prayed His name over my girl and over this undone house and our undone day and my undone heart:::

knowing deep, He has said::: It’s already done.

On the cross.

And so I reminded her. He forgave us our sins. On the cross, right? He came here, walking with us on Earth, to seek us out and to rescue our hearts, remember? He has already done it all….

And so I asked for her forgiveness {and for His} and we smiled and we cuddled and I felt our hearts beat closer to Him…

So we talked about these things wrapped up in a blanket and His love on the couch with her held close to my beating heart::: I told her, oh, these hearts of ours:

they beat because of Him, so they must beat for Him.

Rhythmic and pounding. Steady and resounding. That our lives, they must fill and must beat His love and His music,

because His heartbeat is the only steady one.

The Constant One. And His heart, oh, my little one, His heart?

It beats for us.

{::: amazing grace.}

I told her:

That He paid the price for us already. That He forgave us by giving His Son for us::: for our broken hearts: wavering, wobbly, wanting.

::::::::::::::::::::::: His blood shed, so our hearts could pump pure.

So that He could turn our desperately unsteady hearts to His.

So our heartbeat could, by His mercy-gift, begin to beat out His life-giving rhythm.

Beat out His words.

Beat out His work.

Beat out His grace.

Steady. Constant. Sure. Connected.


So we could beat out His heart for us.  A heart pulsing forth His love.

And, today? Well, today’s been one of those out-of-tune days, my beautiful girl. But::: we can stop marching to our own tempo and start walking in agreement with His heart for us. We can, and He will show us how. What do you say?

Let’s fix this broken moment.

Because you know what?

He has already mended it all… even our hearts!

For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. ::: 2 Corinthians 4

In Him, my sweet little girl, there’s not a thing:


Remember, my little love, despite this world, despite your momma’s mistakes, despite your wonderings and wanderings…

One thing is always true, always fixed

His heart.

It’s fixed on you.


As Jesus went, the people pressed around Him.  And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone. She came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His garment and immediately her discharge of blood ceased… Jesus said, “Someone has touched Me…” And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before Him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched Him, and how she had been immediately healed. And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”  ::: Luke 8



on a morning barely light, while I stumbled over my slippers and my broken way, and gave my love a kiss and a thermos on the way out the door and I settled in to listen to the message in the quiet with my coffee and my bible and the my day-plan already spinning tired in my head:

The pastor, he spoke these words of God’s truth straight to my thought-whirling-weary heart and said something like this:

We have to “press our way through”.

We have to be “desperate enough to say I want to touch the hem of His garment”.

And I heard it.

And I replayed it.

And I inhaled it deep.

And I listened again.

And the tears welled.

That was it.

That thought.

The one that has been settling slow over three days past, that I hadn’t put into spoken word.

Like her.

That’s what I want for.

That’s what I hope for.

To be so singular in focus.

Like her.

To be like her:

To be faith-pouring- out like her.

To be proud- dumped- empty like her.

To be Him- only- truth- seeking like her.

To be on-my-knees-humbled-in-awe like her.

And her?

The way she hemorrhaged sin and blood twelve years.

How she lived lonely- lost on the fringe:

of life.

of community.

of hope.

and then was desperate.

desperate enough.


she had:::


And He knew she would come:

to bore a one-way-light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel through the mobbed and dusted street to reach- touch the fringe

:::just the edge

of who He was.

Who He is.

She knew:::

it would be:::

::: enough.

To save her.

To heal her…

her once- forever- bleeding heart:::

that plagued her and followed her and chased her and shattered her and forced her to live less than who she was created to be.

And she knew.

He could make her whole.

She knew.

Just the hem…

Could hem her close to Him.

Comforted, close and kept.

So she reached.

and in her trembling before the King,

::: she found what He had called her to.



And, in just a while,

He would bleed for her.


To heal:::

the hard- heaving : bound- up : fallen- down world

And, in forever- gifted grace, and abounding, love- filled mercy- words, He would say to us, like He said to her:

“Your faith has made you well; go in peace.”  ::: Luke 8

Press on.

Through the crowd.

Press on.

He loves you.

Reach for Him.

Be desperate for Him.

Taking her by the hand he said to her… “Little girl, I say to you, arise.”  ::: Mark 5

all the sweet; all the salt

I am The Lord who sanctifies you. :::Leviticus 20

I’ve been making lots of muffins lately.

Walnut ones

Banana ones (awesome)

Apple ones

Chocolate chip ones (not so awesome)

Oatmeal ones

Chocolate oatmeal banana walnut ones


Some have been quite tasty and some… well… I thought if I piled enough icing or butter on them, they might be… ok…

But, really, it’s about this:

I have been making more muffins because I love him and he. loves. muffins.

:::::::::::::: makes sense.


I have to work at this muffin-making-baking- homemaking thing.

And I continue to.

I do.

:::: And I know it’s a gift. I do. And I love it.

I do.

That’s not me trying to convince myself. It’s me saying what I know is true. And I am savoring it::::


:::: all the sweet; all the salt…  

But this:

I am not a muffin-maker by nature.

I’m not.

I’m a let’s-stay-outside-as-long-as-we-can-today-and-throw-chili-in-the-crockpot-so-we-can-have-it-when-I-get-out-of-the-treestand- kinda- girl. I’m a I’ll- always- need- want- a- job- outside- of- the- home- and- if- things- get- too- busy- we’ll- order- pizza- and- get- some- rest- on- the- weekend- kinda- girl.

:::: I thought.

There’s never been aprons and three kinds of spatulas to choose from while I make Rice Krispy Treats with one hand and pour perfectly-timed coffee with the other hand– mulling over how the all-natural chicken is on sale this week and wow, wouldn’t he like it if I met him at the door with a kiss? since I already ran all of my errands and I will be home before him?… while I wait for the kids finish their schoolwork… and feel a certain joy I never felt before?

There’s never been too much of that kind of thing.



… and now I find myself in the blessed wait for him to come home so I can serve him dinner with a touch of prayed-for leisure and make sure that he can rest a bit and hang out with the kids so he sleeps well before he walks out the door again…

so we can savor:::

one more day:::

of this moment.

:::: And, I pray, remember to be grateful for it.

(And, by the way, I did make my first Rice Krispy Treats last week, you know.

And let me tell ya. They were nothin’  like Aunt Ella’s.

They stuck to my hand more than they stuck to the marshmallow. (?) And my 9×13 pan of treats were more like an 8×8 pan of treats in the 9×13 pan by the time I was done… who messes up Rice Krispy Treats? This girl…) !

But that’s the stuff I work through now… and it sounds silly? but::: it sanctifies me.

For me, this kind of working pushes me and stretches me and encourages me to be less selfish and more giving in ways I haven’t given in to before.

It demands more of who He is and what I am not.

And I have to work through and press through and I have to give up and walk in obedience and let Him work through me:

The Lord knew I needed home-making and love-making and muffin-making and smile-making and making time ::: s l o w ::: down.

… let him seek peace and pursue it. ::: 1 Peter 3

And so now, I make lots of muffins.

And I settle in to this kitchen…

And I pack his lunch…

And the kids eat a breakfast I think about…

And I like it. A lot.

And it happens, this serving and loving and learning and crying and smiling and burning up and burning out and falling tired on my pillow::::

manifests the joy I am finding:

1. In a muffin.

2. That he finds in his lunch box.

3. That makes his day. (!?!?!?)

I am amazed and filled and humbled and thankful.

{… Like the day his lunch buddies were all jealous of his banana muffins… And when he told me all about it, like it was his best story of the day, and there was a twinkle in his eye.}


Lord, I am loving my husband more deeply because I am making more muffins?

So tonight, I made him carrot muffins.

With a few less raisins, because he’s not so fond.

But with a few more carrots, because carrot cake is his favorite, so I thought he’d like that.

And while I was making them, the kids were running around crazy, pork chops were in the oven, visitors just left, we just finished school and we didn’t get everything done, the dog wanted to be fed and let out, the woodstove needed to be filled, and I was frazzled and I watched the dirt cover the floor I just swept…

but I was making muffins… and I knew that would make him happy.

So that was that. I was happy seeing him be happy. And so he helped me with the pork chops, so I could finish the muffins.

And now, I’m learning.

I’m learning that deep down, in that no -muffin -making deepest part of myself….

I LOVE making muffins.

I never knew it, really, but I have always loved homemaking muffins.

Nothing compares to this.

Nothing can take this place.

This present place where this apron-wearing-new-muffin-recipe-searching-realizing-that-after-10-years-her-oven-at-350-is-really-like-325 girl meets the take-me-bear-hunting- chili-will-be-in-the-crockpot-when-we-get-home girl…

and those two girls can coexist in the same kitchen (!!!!)

And by His grace alone…

pursue the Lord in all these things He’s teaching more about:::::


love my husband well

serve my family with more intention

begin to become this woman I had no idea I yearned to be…

… and then, when I’ve washed up my last muffin tin,

I throw down the towel,


and we head out to the Woods.

And for when we get back?


We all think chili in the crockpot sounds good.

Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God!  ::: Psalm 143

The Joy Fight

I boxed my flesh for joy in the morning.

The morning I woke upside down and floundering on the wrong side of the disheveled bed.

I woke up feeling alone and forgotten. Actually the first thing I said to myself. I’m alone.

Wallow-like in a pity- pride- pit of self and me- loathing and this human skin aching full of sloth.

It had been coming closer like that. Sliding in tiptoe- slow and cantankerous and wrinkled with empty.

I had seen it coming. I told him and I told Him and I said help me hold it off, yet I laid right down in the mud of it ’til it slip-covered me comfortable, smooth and cool.

Deep, my soul knew I am never alone and my Jesus bears witness to just that.

:::: glory.     


                                                                                  The Lord will fight for you… :::Exodus 14


But my head? My heart? My wincing flesh? Alone.

So I wanted Him, needed Him, implored Him to step in the ring with me.

Really, He said, Enough’s enough of this, five minutes awake and three weeks of this, we are done.

I didn’t make you for this, He reminded.


…and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of The Lord shall give. You shall be a crown of beauty in the  hand of The Lord… :::Isaiah 62


He pep-talked me in His Word.


{Oh, read Psalm 31! Aloud!}


So He helped me lace up my gloves.

Man, did they feel heavy.

Or did I just feel weak?


                                                       … for the joy of the Lord is your strength   :::Nehemiah 8


The fight for joy.

Some days it just is.

And I cannot do it alone.


I am never.

And when there is a knockout and the countdown’s on, He brings us to our feet.

When we hit the ropes, He bounces us back.

When faces stream with sweat and blood and fear grips and we dodge jabbing fists of doubt…

It’s His blood that covers us.

When we are punch-weary and worn-down beat-down and scratch-throat thirsty before we go another round…

He is our living water.

Because the canvas is His.

And He has won the fight.

Our joy.

Our joy is in Him.

Fight the good fight… :::1Timothy 6