the many faces of baby mae

You know how it’s super boring to see photos of babies gently sleeping? Wrapped so neatly in cheesecloth? Nestled sweetly in a basket? I agree!

That’s why when I went to visit baby Mae earlier this week, I tickled her feet and picked at her ears until she was wide awake and ready to make some faces at my glass. Don’t misquote me … I said glass.  Continue reading

clothed in strength

I watched as the snow gently fell outside today and my mind swirled. As it does. But as it’s done much more lately.

Last Saturday, the weather was beautiful. We’d had a storm earlier in the week but by Saturday, the snow began to melt and the sun shone brightly. The stage was set for a grand procession for Rich and Tyler Smith and, as I’d written, the amazing sunset I’d hoped to capture in their honor as well; to say ‘until we meet again‘ to two men whose lives had been cut short. And, interestingly, the sunset also gave me the opportunity to reflect on the strength of the two women closest to them; Laurie and Emily.

Today was the same but different.

The sky was overcast and it felt as though a light mist fell this morning as we walked into the church to celebrate the life of another great man; my friend Andy Van Beck.

I’ve worked with Andy’s wife, Kate, for almost 15 years now. It’s so hard to describe Kate with any level of brevity because there at least 117 things that I absolutely love about her. But if there was a word (well, before today), it would be joy. At her core, though, Kate is simply a daughter of the King who epitomizes the light and love of Jesus on Earth and if only each of us could reflect a bit of that light and love back well … I’m quite confident our cheeks would hurt from smiling. That, or our voices hoarse from giggling that infectious giggle.

It wasn’t long after I began working with Kate that I met Andy. Kate shared today about Andy and she used every single adjective that I would have associated with him; adorable, compassionate, talented and funny. Oh. So funny. I related to Andy so much because, like me, he was loud and obnoxious (I can only say that because I mean it in the nicest way) but also just so silly insecure. He had no idea how amazing he was! And I loved that about him, too. But at his core, and just like Kate, he was a son of God.

And for all of those years, Kate just loved him. She loved him for the man that he was and for the father he was to their two children, Celia and William. She loved him through all of the good and all of the bad. And she lovingly honored his life today by speaking in front of a crowded sanctuary at their home base, Radiant Church.

The family had a private service yesterday and I’d texted Kate in the morning, ‘clothed in strength.’ I had to jump to Proverbs 31 because that’s the wife that Kate is.

25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

That’s how this Saturday was the same.

I watched this woman, this amazing woman, suffering from the unbelievable pain of losing her husband, rise and speak with such passion and conviction that, instead of being comforted by the many that came to do just that; she comforted us.

She reminded us of what love is; what strength is; what grace in its very purest form looks like and of course, she did what she always does; she glorified the Lord and chose joy.

I love you, Kate. Be held.❤

look for the helpers

A really sweet and always incredibly wise friend reminded me of this poignant Fred Rogers comment today. He was once quoted as saying, ‘When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.’ Continue reading

taken

It is rare that I find myself at a loss for words, but today? I’m at a loss. Except for one.

I admit I took a moment to look up the definition of the word taken because today, this is the only word that feels relevant and it feels absolutely negative. But I knew that wasn’t right. You can take your child’s hand or a compliment, and as I recalled from many of my own experiences, you can take a photo. All good things. I looked it up because all taken stirs up for me today is  a negative connotation. This weekend, in Kalamazoo, something very sacred was taken.

Human lives. Continue reading