A Chilly, Overcast Mutterday

mutterday buttonSon in Germany; Mutter in the US.  Here’s a peek at the day in both places.

Mutterday 11.24.14

Friedrichshaffen, Germany


Brewing tea to chase away the chills in Topeka, KS.

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TToT: Thanksgiving

#854-868 of my One Thousand Gifts


Normally by Thanksgiving the trees are bare and the lawn is littered in color.  This year the trees are still covered in leaves of varying colors. A local horticulturalist says that a freak snap of winter weather that hit before we had really experienced much fall weather caused the trees to freeze in place.  Whatever stage the pigmentation of individual leaves were in when the temperatures suddenly dropped is still evident in their coloring weeks later.  It is as though time is standing still and the beauty of the individual leaves has been captured longterm in one special moment.

winter leaves

I experience the holidays in much this same way.  Thanksgiving will bring three generations of my family together in this moment in time.  Our beauty and our flaws captured in the memories.  I am thankful for the good and the bad, the highs and the lows. They are what make us who we are.

winter leaves

I am thankful for the ones who have slipped away through all sorts of loss.  Thankful that they once were and will always be a part of us.  I am thankful for love and forgiveness, for hearts that see the best, and a sense of belonging.

winter leavesI am thankful for a day specially set aside to celebrate all of the things that make me feel thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Complete Faith

Trinity Church,  Paris, France

Trinity Church Paris, France

I woke this morning with a memory of a little girl and Vacation Bible School.  There was a tropical theme that year, and we had gone all out on decorations.  In the center of a large display stood a cardboard volcano with red and orange tissue paper “lava” coming out the top.  As our mission offering grew each day, more tissue paper would issue forth to indicate our growing response.

Early in the week I was walking past this display with a little girl.  Her eyes lit up as she told me that she knew that by week’s end that volcano would erupt, spewing lava out the top.  As we stood holding hands looking at that cardboard volcano I knew two things.  What she saw was something much more than cardboard and tissue paper.  And I, The Keeper of the Volcano, had four days to figure out how to show her that her faith was not in vain.

Before Friday came, the girl’s mother discovered my little friend had a case of head lice.  She did not get to see the five cans of silly string that one of our youth happily sprayed out the top from his perch inside the cardboard volcano. She missed the fun of having the sticky string rain down upon her as she sat cross-legged on the floor nearby, but because of her vision her friends didn’t miss out.

The kids sang at church that Sunday, then we all sat at the front of the church while I told the story of our week together.  I had this little girl move by my side and wrapped my arm around her as I told about the volcano eruption her faith had inspired.  I explained that though I had no idea how it would happen, once I saw her complete faith, I too believed it would.

The next day, I received a note from her mother.  I didn’t realize they nearly skipped church that day, or that when they did arrive the mother viewed the two of them as dirty and unworthy because of the lice issue.  She was ashamed.  I have worked with children for so long, I understand that lice are a reality of childhood and had not given a single thought to the lice that morning.  Instead, I was thinking about a little girl who had demonstrated faith.

The mother’s note humbled me as she went on to say that my embrace of her little girl at the front of the congregation touched her as evidence of God’s grace.  She gave me far too much credit.  The child had taught me about faith that week and my embrace of her was simply gratitude.  I felt grateful to her mother as well.  Her note was a poignant reminder that though we can’t know the burdens a person carries with them, we will never go wrong greeting others with kindness and grace.



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Mutterday: The Days Are Getting Shorter

mutterday buttonA glimpse into life in Germany and the USA through mutter and son.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALate afternoon in the sunroom.  Topeka, KS

Mutterday 11.17.14

End of the day.  Friedrichshaffen, Germany

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Ten Things of Thankful: Of Earthquakes and Such


hay balesWe had another earthquake in Kansas this week.  Why is the earth quaking in Kansas so often these days?  Could it possibly be to wake us up to the things we do to it in the name of progress?

Things from the earth I am thankful for:

Wide open spaces unmarred by urban sprawl.

Real food, unmodified and as God intended it.  Gardens full of ripe red tomatoes, orange pumpkins, and ears of corn that are not Round-up Ready.  Fruit trees laden with fruit despite having not been drenched in pesticides along the way.

Clean water.

Plants and landscaping that are meant to be grown in the area without extraordinary fertilizing and watering.

The Ogallala Aquifer and the lives it sustains.

Kansas wind and its power.

And if all this makes me a Tree-Hugger, that’s okay.  I’m thankful for Tree-Huggers as well. Maybe the earth could stop its quaking if there were more of us.


#842-853 of my One Thousand Gifts

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