It Changes You

Over ten years ago our community was hit so hard that we still remember. A drunk driver instantly took the lives of two childhood friends. They were children on their way into their young adult years with high school behind them and their life time of adventures ahead of them. They were the children of friends. They were friends of our children. They were the heartbeats of life around them. And then they were gone. Life was changed. This is one of the surviving families. Mom just recently posted this after going thru a box filled with memories of her Jason and finding  “pictures of a smiling woman that I know is me…or was me…and I’m aware that I am no longer that person in those pictures.”

Everyone hit with death, with loss, knows you that are changed. You have to be. You look back in ways and perspective that wouldn’t happen otherwise. And you learn a whole lot. You learn the stuff you are made of. You learn what other people are made of. And if you are someone like Becky with a deep faith going deeper, you learn a grace that reflects what is on the other side of heaven. There aren’t words for it. But you see it. You see it in conversation, in silence, in just being. It takes beauty beyond a passing glance.


So going into this recent shoot, we were aware of Jason’s absence. But also sensing the sweetness that filled the air we were breathing, was the awareness of just being. Being family. Being free to whatever the moment asked.  And if silly was in the air, doggone-it, it happened.


So Becky, you may not be that same woman. Though I think in many ways you are- now you have wings. Oh sure your feet are on the ground, but you’ve been up above the fray to see and embrace a bigger picture. A picture that doesn’t have room for meaningless worries. You live generously. It’s in the tone of your voice, it’s in the soft thoughtful words, it’s in your eyes.

Life is putting one foot in front of the other, with the best people by your side and you by theirs. With room for a light but not frivolous heart.

Becky shared this site a while back and it’s good enough that everyone needs to read it- it’s a quick read, with salient things to chew on.

If you want to add your own insights they are welcomed below….



The Flying Wounded

We all know, and ought to be thoughtful of the walking wounded. The people who have been kicked in the chops by life. We may have been one ourselves, or still are. Life is just plain bumpy. Sometimes we recover; other times we find a new normal; but what a pity it is when we get stuck.

Nature is one of those God-givens that helps you find a different approach to thinking about life.  A couple of summers ago, it looked like a life would be claimed by adversity. It seems like no matter your size there is always something that could eat you alive.

You may understand the love of wild birds and finding ways to help them thrive. We had one of our birds show up at the feeder badly damaged. The Spotted Towhee was dragging his right foot- with it stretched out far behind him. He could barely balance. He’d find a way to lean up against the edge of the feeder and make a tripod with his tail and one remaining unsteady standing leg. The feathers on his wings were pointed all directions and flight was quite labored.

Over the summer his standing leg got stronger with his tail getting stubbier and scrubbier as he used it to prop himself up. New feathers came in before fall hit, though his foot still dragged uselessly behind him- like he was doing a poorly executed arabesque- he was stronger.

We worried about him last winter. Whatever tried to chew him up that summer left him quite damaged to make it through the winter. But you know, as cold wet winter pressed on, the little feathered trooper hung in there. He learned to pull his foot under himself. And though his foot rarely ever took a normal bird foot posture, it did act like a stump with his toes pointed back.


He made it through last winter, and the seasons that followed.


He went from waiting until the feeder was clear to eat and taking off when new parents brought their fledglings in, to being more bold and brave. He and the other birds have come to an understanding and now they allow him to finish eating. We are in his second winter here; he’s alive, confident and holding his own! He’s got a new normal but he’s still a bird who can take wing._DSC8480

And as a parent, when it’s you? You put on your game face for your kids so they don’t bear much worry as you make sense of those bumps. When it’s your kid getting bounced around? It’s much harder.  Life can get mean, and when you’re wounded, it’s a given that a few more hardships will be piled on just to ramp up the strugglings. No one wants that for their beloveds.

I watched my daughter recover from a surgery this summer. It was a hard surgery, hard recovery and a game changer.  Summer days shouldn’t be dark days, but it was a very dark summer for her. She’d tell you it was just her and God. I didn’t have a bandage for this hurt. You want your children to grow up and be adults who can thrive in a dog-eat-dog world- thrive in a way that they are still people with integrity, heart and perseverance…. So sometimes we’re not walking wounded- we have learned to fly instead….wounded. Yet, we fly.




The Eyes… They Do Have It

There is nothing pithy or profound to say about eyes that has not been said many times over- but aren’t they wonderful? They run second only to hearing in importance for us bi-peds. Eyes plead, they speak anticipation or weariness… (I’ve always thought that the reason God didn’t ever give me a brown-eyed baby is that I would be totally at their mercy.) The level of trust from one of these wee ones is like none other. It’s the reason that I hold to the principle of don’t tell children too much, too early. Don’t betray a child. Don’t abuse the trust of a child. Let them be a child. Let them filter and understand this big old world with all the gentle honesty and protection you can muster.


When this jagged planet starts to jade the filters they see the world with, a child never again hold your gaze with that same intensity of trust. It’s more measured- It’s wanting safe refuge, so make sure it is real for them. There is plenty in this old world to sober ’em up, so guard what their eyes see and what their ears hear.

I once heard a wise man say, a child will believe more of what you say about them than what you say to them. So tell them you love them to the moon. and let them hear you tell others that they are worth going to the moon for. And for pities sake let them be a little silly as they connect the goofy dots that the world throws at them. Because, sometimes when they can’t find the words their eyes will tell you what your heart needs to stop and listen to.