A Collection of Hearts

It’s just another day, but the calendar says some numbers have changed.

No matter how great of a year it was for me, for whatever reason I end up feeling relieved there is a new start. But really it’s just a Wednesday this year. I think I’m going to wake up different or have a new outlook but I wake up the same way I always do in these young parenting days. Back hurting a bit and a few “shushes” from my mouth, waiting to see if Jason would be the first to cave to the smell of a pee-filled diaper or a plea for mommy and daddy to get up, “it’s morning time!”

But when I do take the time to think back on 2013, I think about growth. I think about changes- more emotional and spiritual changes than physical.

I think about moments I have experienced joy and pain this year.

At one point this year I looked around my church congregation and thought- if the rest of the world thinks the church has it all together- it couldn’t be more wrong. If they think the church thinks it has it all together, it’s wrong. No matter how strong the front, I saw a people who have seen all the joy and pain of many lifetimes. My mind saw all of their faces and the faces of those in my life- family and friends and acquaintances. They have lost a child, pregnancies, a parent. They have lost a job, a marriage, a friend, a brother, hope. They have made tough choices, struggled through a wounded past. I thought back to last year when I was at the end of my human control of what was next in my family’s life. I felt broken. I couldn’t sing a song with my church family without weeping. Brokenness doesn’t always mean without hope or trust. I knew God would be present with us, no matter what the new path of our lives would be. I was raw. Translucent. Fragile. But God spoke, and heard it loud in my heart.

I see you.




The other day, Baby Clemmie had a cold and she and Miles were in the living room playing together. I had told him she wasn’t feeling good, so not to get too close to her and to wash hands a lot. But from the kitchen, I could hear a little boy’s voice saying “Dear Jesus, please help Clemmie feel better cause she is sick…” On his own, he decided he should pray over his little sister. He saw her – as she was and saw her need. He showed he was there for her.

One particularly nervous-breakdown of a day (I seemed to have a lot of those this past year) had me instead stilled with the love Jesus has for me. My mommy-melt down was ever so apparent to my four year old son and when I told him it was time for a nap and to go upstairs, he had stopped his defiant-ness for once that day and paused at the bottom of the stairs. He looked at me and said, “Mommy, you are a good mommy. I’m going to put a heart on your bed- to tell you that I love you.”

Miles has been infatuated with tornados, Curious George and how hearts work over this year. Hearts have been speaking to me mostly. Not that a good Curious George episode doesn’t touch my soul, but you know.

As I walked along the beach of Edisto Island in October I wanted to walk along that sand forever if I didn’t have to pee. The crashing waves weren’t helping my situation. I tried to forget about my natural necessity and take in the breeze, the billions of grains of sand I stepped on and the imprints I made. The waves, only just warm on my tired feet. And the shells. Some perfect, some broken, some smoothed or shattered beyond all recognition. I found myself asking Jesus to join me- where I was. Not for help, not for guidance, just to be with me. That’s not something I normally ask. It’s always for something. It’s always urgent and usually about trying to change me or someone else. This time was different. The environment had calmed me enough that I was past the point of tears- it seemed like I couldn’t be alone with my own thoughts most of this past year without crying- and I just said “meet me here”. I looked down and spotted the first of three shells with holes in them. I looked closer and saw the shape of holes the ocean had carved into each shell was a heart.

I saved them all in my collection I brought back to Ashland.


My other joy-filled moments of  2013 went something like this:

• Coming in to the living room to see the word “Poop” spelled out with alphabet game cards by my son. It was pure accident. But a funny one.

• Re-connecting and singing with old friends at the Ashland Symphonic Youth Chorus reunion.

• Seeing the ocean again.

• Watching Miles learn and spell out the word Kotex. A lot. An embarrassing amount of times. For the future Miles, not me.

• Finding my baby photos.

• Sending Miles to pre-school for the first year and enjoying his hunger for knowledge.

• Witnessing Clementine’s first steps and learning to play with her brother. Him being patient with her, helping her. Then not so much.

• Locating and securing a sentimental one-of-a-kind guitar for my dad with the help of so many friends and family members.

• Miles being so excited when opening his silver trumpet for Christmas.

• Jason taking me to the Titanic Exhibit

• Clemmie’s cuddles and kisses when she’s not bossing us all around with her hand motions and girly grunts.

• Started a painting.

• Dressing up like Wilma, Barney, Pebbles and Bamm Bamm as a blended family  for Halloween.

• Spending lots of quality time with my grandparents and watching them with my kids.

• Watching Miles “read” and build things from the “restructions”.

• Practicing with, then playing with members of my dad’s old band, CenterLine and making awesome rock n’ roll sounds. Loved every minute of it.

• Discovering some new-to-us genealogical information for my family

• Visiting Deal Island, MD where some of them were from.

• Realizing I reached my strength goal when brushing my teeth and my tootbrush busted in half. That’s strength, people.



I hope you have a list of things that have lifted your spirit, made you laugh and filled that hollow space in us that sometimes feels less than empty. I hope 2014 is a year that sees your heart being restored. And it starts with wherever you are, right now.