Archive for March, 2010

March 31: Hope

Posted: March 31, 2010 in Uncategorized

Dear Diary,

I’m back from a whirlwind week.  A week I will never forget.  A week that reminded me of two things in equal measure.  1. Life is hard.  Really hard.  2.  God is good. Abundantly good.

Had anyone told me last Monday  that I would be in California at a dear friend’s funeral this Monday, I would have found it impossible to believe.  But impossible things happen sometimes and Jesus is good to walk us through them.

A few things I learned on my trip:

  1. If you have to go to a really tough funeral, be sure to take lots of tissue along with Edie, Deb and Whitney.  Quality friends make hard times bearable.
  2. I too will have a funeral some day: live intentionally.
  3. I too will have a funeral some day: take some decent pictures for the slide show.
  4. It’s not a myth,  California has really nice weather.
  5. The closest approximate to hell-on-earth surely must be gas station restrooms.
  6. Whitney’s right, powdered sugar donuts – no matter how wonderful – do get all over everything.

So, dear and understanding diary, I would like to tell you about my friend, Jonathan.  But it will have to wait til tomorrow.  My email inbox at work was not nearly as understanding as you were about letting me go.

Your faithful friend,



March 23: Seeing

Posted: March 23, 2010 in Uncategorized

Today I saw all my children.

I know, I only have 4 kids and a kid-in-law, and two of the kids still live at home so I’m with them all the time.  But it bears repeating:

Today I saw all my children.

There were moments today when, for whatever reason, I just saw them – in another dimension.  It was weird and lovely and beautiful and terrifying.

Josiah stood by me in line at Barnes and Noble and then helped carry the drinks for he and his sisters to our table.  He grabbed napkins and cleared stuff and just generally acted really grown up and mature and man-like.  For a second, while everyone was reading  at our little spot by the fireplace, I looked sideways at my boy and saw the man.  The man he will become.  The girl he will love.  The children who will be the recipients of his cherished and growing book collection.  It was like some sort of here-and-now glasses I was wearing came off and I could see the guy he will become and it wasn’t fuzzy or hazy even a little.  It was vivid and clear and stunning.  But just for a flash of a moment, and then the man was gone and the 10-year-old in the Old Navy t-shirt was back.

Later, I went to visit my oldest daughter, Whitney, at the beauty school where she is studying.  She had booked me for a facial and I honestly have never had one and therefore had no idea how much I would love it.  LOVED it!  But there was this moment, when I saw her, dressed in the black beauty apron and doing what she really loves to do and there she was:  little Whitney.  Little blond, always-moving, always-talking Whitney (her first word was “yes!”).  I saw and remembered and tried so hard to enjoy that moment without worrying about when it would disappear.  It did.  Like a bubble popping in the sunlight, my first Little was all grown up again.  Grown up and married and still one of my favorite people ever; she is still so full of possibility and life and hope.

I had similar moments with the rest of my kids and I’ve been wondering why.  Why today?  The only answer I can come up with  is that I had the time to let them in.  The moments and the kids.  I’ve taken a few days off this week and have had more conversations and more time to think and more room to dream and remember…to reach ahead and reach back to enjoy what has been and what’s to come.  And I tried to take a mental snap shot of each one of those moments for the days when the seeing is hard to come by.

Today, I saw all my children.

March 22: Courage

Posted: March 22, 2010 in Uncategorized

Today, Steve left for Florida.  This is a shorter trip, which is thrilling to my Steve-loving little heart, but it’s always hard for me to face time without him.  Nights are especially difficult for me, when noises stir imagination and fear can creep in and steal peace.  But even beyond the safety issues of being without a big strong man, I fear a lot of things when he’s gone.  Did I get the bills all paid?  Will I remember to put the garbage out?  What if something goes wrong with a car or a kid?  If I let it, Fear is happy to come on in, set up shop and have a party for its friends – Anger and Frustration.

So, this morning when Steve left I found myself laying in bed, rolling all the possibilities over in my mind again.  I was reviewing all the ‘what if’s’ in great detail, when I clearly heard the Holy Spirit say, “Fear not.”  And while the words were  comforting, the voice was pretty firm.  I listened and nodded and…went right back to fraidy-cat thinking.  Again, the voice – so clear:  Fear Not, Bo Stern.  I’m not kidding – even my last name!

Later, in Joshua 14, I ran into this interesting repetition of phrases:

Joshua 14:8 My brothers who went with me caused the people’s hearts to melt with fear, but I remained loyal to the Lord my God.

:9  “…because you remained loyal to the Lord my God.”

:14 “…because he remained loyal to the Lord, the God of Israel
Some may look at fear as just human nature, but Caleb saw fear as disloyalty to the word and the promises of God.  When the other spies gave into fear, they influenced the people to abandon obedience and in so doing, they became traitors, guilty of treason.  Their fear cost the people forty years and for many of them, their only shot at stepping into the promised land.

I wonder how many times my fear has caused my family’s heart to melt.  I wonder how much ground I’ve given up because I was afraid to face a phone call or a conversation or a new adventure.

For the rest of my life on this planet, I want to be a woman who is loyally in love with God and bravely committed to obedience.  For the rest of my life…but I’m going to start with just this week.
I’ll let you know how it goes.

Craving Courage,


March 20: Farewell Winter

Posted: March 20, 2010 in Uncategorized

I love that the same colors that introduce us to one season:

Also show up to help us welcome a new one:

Welcome, sweet spring!  We’re happy to see you.

Behold: The beauty of changing seasons.  I’m so glad we don’t have a chance to get too stuck.

March 19: Built

Posted: March 19, 2010 in Uncategorized

Excuse me, have you seen my week?  It seems to have gotten away from me.

My crazy Church History class, crazy Irish relatives and their culinary needs (please do yourself a favor and cook up a pot o’ this delicious stew forthwith!)  and then a crazy happy houseful of company, and now this little blog o’ mine is staring me in the face like an overdue library book.  I’m sorry, little blog.  I love you, but I wish you did dishes.

The bad news is that I really don’t have much time to write today either because I have to go…live.  Seriously, I just feel this beautiful spring day pulling me away from my computer with quite a forceful insistence.  Let me just share this one big behold from Psalm 89 that honestly, shot little butterflies all through my soul when I read it:

For I will declare, “Faithful love is built up forever; You establish Your faithfulness in the heavens.”  Psalm 89:2

Can I tell you how much I love that line, “Faithful love is built up…”?  I love it dearly and truly.  His love isn’t flimsy, flighty or frail.  It’s built up.  Layer on layer, word on word, truth on truth, wonderful work by wonderful work.  He has been building His sturdy love in my life not just for 44 years – but for generations.  I see it in my parents, my grandparents…over a century of rock solid love.

On a brilliant day like this one, it’s almost too much to take in.

Behold: My life is held by a God who is not new at this love thing – He is experienced and skilled at building His faithfulness into my world.

March 15: Monday, Monday

Posted: March 15, 2010 in Uncategorized

Ah, Monday.  I really like Mondays because they have become the day that I study (like MAD) for the Church History class I teach on…Tuesday.  Yeah, it turns out that I am exactly the same kind of teacher as I was a student:  driven-by-pressure.

Not gonna lie, though, it’s hard searching out the juicy juice of twenty centuries of history and then trying to make it fun and interesting and absorb-able for young adults who are frankly more concerned with their future than the Church’s past.  Now, that mindset is totally understandable given their age and stage of life, but  – since the past contextualizes the present – it’s not complete.  So, if you really wanted to, you could say that I complete them.

That makes me feel extra special valuable as I study the Byzantine Empire and the Goths and Visigoths and such. Since St. Patrick’s Day is this week, I decided to take my class on a field trip to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin. 

Then I decided to show them this picture instead.

Incidentally, this week as you don your green glittery glasses and your luck-o-the-Irish t-shirt, take a look at the very cool and very inspirational life of St. Patrick himself (who wasn’t Irish, by the way).   Much of what is written about him now is exaggerated or even outlandish, but what is known of him from his writing is both interesting and important enough to make him a hero of the faith.   I’m not sure he’d be real excited about what his holiday has become, but he’s in good company with Jesus and the Easter Bunny.

Behold: History.  So beautiful to find our place in the story.

March 15: Bad & Good

Posted: March 14, 2010 in Uncategorized

Bad news: It was 18 degrees when we woke up in Bend this morning.  Good news: The sun was shining like mad!

Good news: The sun was shining like mad!  Bad news: So Steve went golfing. (That’s not really ‘bad’ – I’m happy for him, but I miss him.)

Bad news: My tulips died.  Good news: Trader Joe’s had daffodils for $1.29!

Good news: Trader Joe’s ALSO had lots of things I love like fresh pizza dough and salmon and Curry simmer sauce.  Bad news: I really need to lose weight.

Bad news: I really need to lose weight.  Good news: I spent some quality time with my treadmill today and that just  me a happier girl all the way around.  MORE good news: Happier Bo = happier family.

Bad news: I’m tired from springing ahead last night.  Good news: It’s still light at 5:50!

Good news: Ultimate Recipe Showdown is back on Food Network tonight.  Bad news: The theme tonight is “comfort food” and I cannot afford to fall in love with another comfort food.  Could somebody do a special on celery and tofu?  Aw, never mind.  I wouldn’t watch it.

Behold: Bad helps make the good better somehow.  I really love that.