Mom Needs Grace

Musings on the life redeemed & purpose redefined

Easter (the day after) April 28, 2014

Filed under: Faith,History lessons — dayna @ 12:00 am

From 4/9/12:
It was the Monday after Easter. With the kitchen finally cleaned up and the lunch dishes stowed away, the girls and I snuggle into the recliner for pre-nap stories. Midway through a little Curious George, the doorbell rings.

I sigh myself up from the chair as the little girls beat me to the door. They peer through the window shutter before I can object.

Two men, one young and one older, stand at our front door.

Stinking solicitors, I think.

As a rule, we don’t give to or buy anything from the people all too frequently ringing our doorbell.

Confident in the safety of our new locked wrought iron security door, I swing the interior door wide.

We’re warmly greeted. Big surprise. The younger man starts talking, introducing himself and the older man. I wait for him to take a breath so I can politely turn them away.

And then I see the familiar logo on their clipboards and binders. I smile and open the security door to be able to make eye contact. The young man continues haltingly to tell me about the program he is in. I listen to him describe this focused program that I know is unlike any other in its intention and duration. This program that actually works.

Speaking more confidently now, he tells me in one glorious sentence how he is new and how he is becoming free.

Excusing myself, I call out to my  little monkeys to quit throwing rocks in the front yard, then turn back to him and grin and try to nod encouragingly.

He continues and tells me, noticeably humbled at the notion, how other people’s gifts have paid his way and that now he asks for this help for others.

I know it is worthy. A whisper. Give.

Moments later, as I write out a check, I ask them both about where they are in the program. They are mere months in, but miles away from where they were. I press for more details. They share humbly and openly about broken families back home and paths of wreckage becoming prayerfully restored. Somehow in the afternoon sun they seem glow just a little. They exude graceful rescue.

Tell them. Encourage them.

And as I hand over the check I look down a bit and gulp.

I tell them that I too am a life so very changed. That I’m constantly amazed and so unworthy of the way He keeps making something beautiful. They grin and breathe out praise. We’re all family now; talking about a treacherous path made solid and new. Of fresh hope and days brimming with wonder.

We talk a bit more about the goodness and their program and their up-coming transitions.

I marvel briefly at the sometimes surreal nature of the suburban dream that I’m now living: a house, a job, a marriage, two little ones, and one more on the way.  It’s bizarre in its normalcy and enormous in good after the muddy darkness from which I was rescued.

They have a future.

As I call in the little girls, we wish each other well. There are blessings and thanks and warm confidence in each others’ prayers.

I close the door and I know that this is Easter. Two walking miracles knocking on my very door.

I give because so many give to me.

Because He gave. Because He came. Because He died. Because He rose.

Because He lives even now.

It’s Easter every single day as He changes lives. As His resurrection makes them brand sparkling new.

dusk towards the light gathering pocket walk sunset







restoration December 26, 2013

Filed under: Faith — dayna @ 11:00 pm

This year, this Christmas season, it was all Isaiah 61. I kept needing to ponder those promises. The ones that sound like a sledgehammer breaking down thick walls …followed by skilled hands fashioning luminous skylights in all the openings.

I thought about the promise of one anointed to preach good news to the poor.

Of one binding up the brokenhearted.

Proclaiming freedom for the captives! And releasing prisoners from deathly darkness.

Marking a year of the Lord’s favor and a day of vengeance for our God.

I thought of comfort offered to those who mourn. Provision for the grieving.

A crown of beauty traded for ashes, oil of gladness for mourning, and a (gossamer) garment of praise instead of a (scratchy) spirit of despair.

I want to put that on!

I thought of people receiving a double portion rather than shame. Faces lifting heavenward to rejoice in an inheritance, rather than heads hanging in disgrace.

A people welcoming in everlasting joy.

I delighted that the one who was wrapped in swaddling clothes is the very one who clothes me with the garments of salvation.

Every single day.

10-23-13 039


trading reluctance October 1, 2013

Filed under: Blogging,Faith — dayna @ 3:00 am

Here I am. Just here.

I know that You want me here and I’ve been putting it off for so long. Always balking and nudging my other “to-do’s” to the top of the list.
I know You’re telling me not to overcomplicate things.
That it’s unnecessary for me to try to figure out exactly what You’re going to do. Or attempt to plan it out myself.
Because I would only smudge up something really beautiful. Or make it all about me. And of course, You know it isn’t.

Don’t I know by now that when I do what You ask of me in Your timing, that You run to help me with the rest?
That you smooth out the time-consuming wrinkles in a mind-bending, time-bending way? That the weight gets thrown off and the real race can be run.

When my eyes are on You, the Author, somehow you always perfect the timing and the task.

So here, right now, I will obey.

Yes, I’m pretty sure we’ll need to reach backwards a bit. I think we have some catching up to do…
And I know without a doubt that we’ll be pressing forward. Because you’re the only Way I ever do.
But for now… tonight, I’m thankful that you always deal with me in the present.

Yes, Lord. Establish the work.


So here we are… December 19, 2012

Filed under: Faith,Motherhood — dayna @ 12:00 am

It’s not very often these days that I’m relatively alone. My little threesome and I are a wolfpack of sorts. Ok: a messy, chirpy, sparkly wolfpack. But pretty much always together.

A few weeks ago though, it was only the babe and me in the minivan. I’m driving to shake my postpartum self at a “Zumba-thon” to raise funds and support for a former co-worker fighting the battle of his life. And I’m wondering (almost aloud), if each of my family members knows just exactly how I feel about them…

On the rare occasion that I am semi-alone, I almost always find myself with the same urgency. Feeling a gnawing that my daughters may be unaware of what it is that I adore about them right now. That my husband might not know exactly why he is still the man I choose to be in love with until my dying day. That this little baby wouldn’t know that I already see glimpses of his personality and cherish him well beyond his weeks.

And my thoughts wander to my friend Heather who lost her mother at a very young age and to my friend Amanda whose mom passed away when she was a teen. Were these women (who are now incredible mothers themselves) certain with every bit of their soul just how glorious their mothers already knew they were?

I want my crew to know. To know that I see them. And that they are spectacular.

And I ask: if something happened right now, would my life, my words, resonate with them in a loving way? Would they know exactly what they mean to me? How special they are?

I wretch out a nauseous gut cry as I mentally answer. Of course, they couldn’t! Not with the way I act most of the time these days. With all the snapping and the shortness and the griping. With the tired sighs and continuous correcting.

Yes, I do need to behave better. But I also know I need to write it down. To write to them. Perhaps a letter to each, I think. I resolve on the drive.

And then that Friday happens.

Suddenly we’re all reeling. Mouths gaping at the evil. Breath taken at the heroism. Hearts breaking at the emptiness…

The next day I go to a small local production of the Nutcracker with my kids. I catch myself quietly sobbing at the precious multitude of gumdrops and baby mice. Because across the country, there is undoubtedly a production of the Nutcracker that is missing some gumdrops. Or baby mice. Or ginger children.

I know many of my mama friends are feeling it too. The weight of the privilege of this time with our ones. And we’re all hugging our kindergarteners and 1st graders especially tight.

Later that night, my husband and I are watching news coverage and speaking in hushed tones. We’re shaking our heads and looking at each other wide-eyed.

“Can you imagine?” he says. “Coming home without her…?” His voice trails off as I squeeze my eyes shut hard and hang my head.

And I gulp because I do. Imagine it. More often than any healthy person should. Occupational hazard, I guess. Sadly, I know many of my co-workers and I do occasionally imagine the scape of our homes without our little ones. Right now we’re all picturing life without these insightful, creative, goofy school age kids. I feel sick when I imagine the very sound of my home without her constant singing and narrating all-the-time…

Or I shudder at the possibility of even having to talk honestly to my sensitive girl about what she witnessed happen to her friends, or to her teacher.

Then I tell my husband about the preacher from Colorado that I saw being interviewed on television earlier. The one that was really telling it. Talking about a fallen world and evil and how God is still with us, in and through it all.

And suddenly we’re having church up in our living room. We’re talking of mourning and comfort. We’re looking up verses like 2 Corinthians 1:3-5. We’re wondering how to best be the very hands of God and offer some peace in the midst of crisis and disaster.

Then the baby really gets going. And so I’m up pacing with him.

But still there is that gnawing, that urging, that knowing that I’m supposed to be living a life obedient. Supposed to write some stuff down. Supposed to be prepared.

As the babe and I shuffle, I’m humming the tune “Better than a Hallejuh” and thinking of those precious lyrics: “God loves a lullaby in a mother’s tears in the dead of night better than a hallelujah sometimes… We pour out our miseries. God just hears a melody. Beautiful, the mess we are. The honest cries of breaking hearts are better than a hallelujah.”

I’m praying as I stride thinking “Please Lord, don’t let me forget. Help me to say what you would have me say.”

Because it’s really hard to write when you pace the tile floors, shoulder covered in spit up, and arms full of colicky baby.

But I’m thankful… because my arms are so full.


the crux January 21, 2012

Filed under: Better life,Faith,Motherhood — dayna @ 12:00 pm

*This post was originally scheduled for the day my father-in-law passed away. When he died so suddenly, I pulled it, uncertain of the timing. In the days to come though, we’ve had many frank discussions with our little girls. Somehow, these conversations I managed to scribble down a few weeks prior seemed to give comfort and provide a starting point for the topics to come…


She’d been talking crosses all day.

Right after we settled the tiny one down for a nap, we were in the middle of picking up the house. I scurried about in anticipation of friends dropping by to exchange belated Christmas gifts.

“But, how did they keep him on the cross, Mommy?” She asks abruptly, as if we were mid-discussion.

Not sure I heard her correctly, I turn to meet her eyes. “What, hon?”

“How did they put Jesus on the cross, Mommy?” she continues insistently.

I’m close to her now. Hands on her shoulders, I drop to my knees to be level. I draw in my breath, buying time with a stumbling, “You really want to know, babe? It’s tough…”

She nods.

I know that this kid, as much as any I have ever met, needs deserves honesty. It’s just the extent of the detail that sometimes wants tempering…

“Well… they nailed him there,” I answer quietly. Her brow furrows, perplexed.

“Big nails…” I gulp to explain. Her eyes are wide.

I feel my face twist a bit. And my tears wanting to stream.

“And it must’ve hurt really bad. But he wanted to do it. He came to do it… You know why?”

“Why?” Earnestly curious.

“Because he loved us so much. He loved you so much. He loved me that much. So, he was willing… so we could be rescued!” (We love that word around here).


Later that night, as we lay in her bed ready for prayers, being mauled by the clambering two-year old, she continues…

“Which one did he die on?”

“What do you mean?”

“Which cross?! All those ones we see when we drive…which one was his?”

Suddenly, I understand. This girl who watches so intently out the mini-van window as the world goes by…thinks she may have been seeing Jesus’ very own cross in every road side memorial! In the little shrines so present in our town that I almost don’t notice them anymore.

I explain that those smaller crosses are markers in memory of other people who have died- perhaps Christ-followers themselves.

Her questions come faster now. I find myself being urged to explain the three crosses on “that page in her Jesus Storybook Bible,” and realizing with shock that she thinks everyone’s life ends on a cross. Her logical pre-schooler questioning continues on into an exploration of varied ways that people can die. Oh my.

Bedtime when you are four and your mind is electric!

And then…

“How do you get to heaven, Mommy?”

She’s a bloodhound sniffing out a trail. She’s pressing me. Certain that this whole cross thing is key.

Then I hear myself talking about telling God we’re sorry. Me. Straight reeking of sinful nature mere minutes after lashing out at my husband and babes in the exhausting “to bed” hustle.

Talking about messing up and forgiveness and about how Jesus is the only perfect. The only way to fix this mess.

To fix us.

“And we can pray and talk to God, right Mommy?” She beams, nodding, and then snuggles in close. Satisfied for a brief moment.

I’m slightly dumbfounded. Her wheels still turn.

Next: “But what were the legs of the manger made out of?” She’s obviously recalling the concrete-stucco trough our pastor produced to show the kids at Christmas Eve service. She grills me for dimensions with her hands spacing, “How big was it? Was it this big? This big?”

I sigh and breathe an “I honestly don’t know, honey. Let’s talk about this more tomorrow, ok? It really is late.”

This year, the connection of the manger to the cross becomes just a little more clear.

We say prayers. Even the tiny two-year old settles, doing her own whispery listing of loved ones.

And the Almighty leans in close to hear their sweet voices lift…


we mourn January 9, 2012

Filed under: Faith,Milestones — dayna @ 6:00 am

It feels strange to be writing over here. But I know that so many of you care deeply for our family and will join with us in our grief, prayer, and even in thanksgiving.

This week we were reminded that in this life, so much can change in the blink of an eye.

That in tragedy, time seems to slow.  A calendar day which would have previously flown by, begins to feel like a marathon.

This week, our family mourns.

A wife desperately missing the love of her lifetime.

Grown children missing their beloved father.

Grandchildren and great-grandchildren missing their doting grandpa.

A community missing a leader with a servant heart.

Thank you for your kindness and your prayers. We’re so grateful for you and for every single second we had with him on this earth.

Now, more than ever, we are working to “fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Cor 4:18)


Gifts December 26, 2011

Filed under: Faith,sisters — dayna @ 11:59 pm

For our crew, Christmas 2011 has been one to cherish.

Although I hope to get back over here soon to share some more stories, for now we are still enjoying the season’s magic of family, food, and gift-giving.

And marveling at the miracle of the ultimate Gift…

Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” Luke 2:9-12


before this book November 1, 2011

Filed under: Faith,reads — dayna @ 11:55 pm

So I’ve had this crush for about nine months now.

A crush on…

this book.

Now, if you aren’t a book-freak like me, feel free to come back another day. You won’t hurt my feelings one little old bit.

The rest of you, (and you know who you are),perhaps you’ll indulge me and read on.

I call it a crush because I haven’t actually read the book yet. Up until now, I’ve just been admiring it from afar.

It started one late one night when a friend linked up to this blogAnn’s words took my breath away from the start, as she seemed to peer into my very soul. She pointed me gently but constantly to our shared Lord and reminded me of the richest reality that “All is grace.”

When I caught a glimpse of the book on the sidebar, I was certain I had seen it before. Even the simple beauty of the cover art sang sweetly to me.

But I have way too many books! I’m a bit of a book buying addict attempting (questionable) recovery. So I resisted. I didn’t buy it. I didn’t want it to be just another book. And I didn’t check it out from the library because I was sure I would want to write all over it.

I waited.

I simply kept reading her always challenging, always encouraging, often heart-wrenching words so freely sent out into the world over at A Holy Experience. And I fell head over heels for her writing, her images, her heart.

I even dabbled in her list-making printables.

And then a month or so ago, in my search to find a good Bible study, I contacted someone I thought would know. Although I ended up finding just the right Bible study over here, Donita mentioned that her group would be reading One Thousand Gifts starting in November.

And I knew it was time to take Ann’s dare.

So now I have the book. And I have been gazing at it, almost afraid to get started. I’ve heard the buzz and the raves, and have seen the lives shining ever brighter with gratitude.

Well, here I go.

I’ll admit it is kind of weird to be randomly writing about a book I haven’t read yet, but something just makes me want to record the beginning. To get a “before” picture of sorts of my mind and spirit prior to turning a page.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a date…with my book.

Have you read Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts? Would you like to?

If you want, you can join in. Donita even has a reading schedule and thoughtful discussion questions over here.


Back to Damascus October 27, 2011

Filed under: Faith,History lessons — dayna @ 11:55 pm

It’s been more than fifteen years now since that monsoon night.

The night when I ran wild-eyed, naked, barefoot through the desert. That night I stumbled and flew frantic as the Catalinas lit up from behind with lightning. The desert floor shuddered with thunder. My mind and body racing. Fleeing. A night when every snippet of sound and every colored light meant something.

It took months for the cactus to work its way out of my feet. Embedded and sore as my mind cleared and my spirit calmed; the tiny spines worked their way to the surface.

Now, I find myself asking:

 “Are they there still festering in my soles? In my soul?”

Because fifteen years later, I run through the desert again. Sometimes feeling naked and barefoot even now. Incredulous that I, no longer a girl, still have a heart that rages. That drives me out there.

But it is different now.

I may be restless. I may even look lost.

 But I know I am not, really.

This time, the monsoon desert smells familiar. It smells of sage and creosote and new construction. And the moonlight…illuminates a path.

A path leading to one place, and one place only.

This time, I will collapse in the shadow of a moon crossed.

Dusty, tear-stained and humbled. Broken.

And there is a gentle hand. Cupping my chin. Lifting my face. Wiping my tears.

Flooding my weakness with strength.

The rage settles out to calm.

Peace can be found even in an angry heart.

And I know that I can huddle here until the storm passes.

Until the sun rises.

Sonrise in the desert is the most.beautiful.thing.


renovation September 1, 2011

Filed under: Better life,Faith — dayna @ 11:55 pm

Isn’t there just something about a new month? About a fresh page on the calendar with all those little boxes open for plans. For life.

For change.

And it is September! The drier early mornings and faintly breezy nights are starting to whisper that fall in the desert might, just might, be coming.

A change of seasons.

I could use some change.

I’ve been tense and toxic. Feeling my temper all too often. Running scared and it shows. I am a mom in need of some serious renovation.

So beware. It could get messy. Be on the look out, because I’m in for all-out transformation.

A change in my heart, my mind, my home. Even some change around this little ol’ site.

*Now switching gears, (but not really)…

Do you ever hear a song that you want to run out and give to everyone you know? I feel that way pretty often. This time it started with a song (this one: Rise by Shawn McDonald), but I downloaded the entire album the very next day and it was that good. Below are a few of the lyrics or JUST LISTEN– a live acoustic performance.

Yes I will rise
Out of these ashes rise
From this trouble I have found
And this rubble on the ground
I will rise
Cause He Who is in me
Is greater than I will ever be
And I will rise

Sometimes my heart is on the ground
And hope is nowhere to be found
Love is a figment I once knew
And yet I hold on to what I know is true


Well I keep on coming to this place
That I don’t know quite how to face
So I lay down my life in hopes to die
That somehow I might rise


A gentle anthem happily stuck in my head.