The Adventures of Stinky Sweet:

Sometimes stinky. Sometimes sweet. But it's our life - and it is always good.

Monday, January 14, 2019


It seems I only stop by this place to offer some piece of bad news but I suppose I need to write it down and this seems as good a place as any.

My dad passed away last Tuesday. He had been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer that had already spread other places but that was just the latest pronouncement in a long line of health issues. What I knew was that his body wouldn't be able to do both chemo and dialysis for long - you name a chemo symptom, he seems to have gotten to experience it. He went quietly surrounded by all his children and his wife, my mom.

This seems to be a kind of sorrow that buries itself deep in your bones, stretches your marrow, and makes your whole body ache. I think I'll carry it with me always, ever stretching, aching. I wonder if it will seem lighter with time - that the ache will be less, that someday I might get through an entire day without tears. I'm told I might.

Here is where I find joy: a friend, who is exactly 7 months ahead of me on this journey, reminded me - you will have a hard time getting past what you've lost. But think of what he's gained. What joy! What unspeakable, un-nameable, unimaginable joy in this weighty sorrow. To think - of heaven and Jesus and bodies that work and maybe even a round of golf. Do you think God will grant him a game or two of blackjack? He doesn't have to bet anything - just to let him enjoy the game.

This year - before 2019 became the year I lost my dad - I chose "brave" as my word of the year. Try new things, go on adventures, get healthy and now, keep going, making your dad proud. Ann Voskamp put it in words better than I could, as always:

"Sometimes doing hard things
looks like doing the next everyday thing
like putting your running shoes on
like turning the screen off
like breathing

Breathing is brave.
Hoping is brave.
The next step is brave.
This is how Rome was built, Everest was scaled, and your battles are won.

This new year, we refuse to write
the same old story:
We are Staying in the Story,
the Word,
who guarantees to make us new.


Monday, January 15, 2018

Holy Ground.

I spent the weekend with my mom in Virginia and felt really strongly that I needed to write about it. I haven't been here on the blog in over two years but no better place I guess.

Mom's brother - my uncle - Tom was diagnosed with a brain tumor less than a month ago. Some named mass that I can't pronounce or spell that is slowly stealing him from the life he loves. He had surgery two weeks ago and it didn't go as expected - those angry tendrils are still reaching further into his smart, healthy brain - a brain that has guided this man through a life of projects, work, raising a family, and meeting adored grandchildren. I haven't posted about it much other than a vaguepost because it isn't my story to tell but we covet your prayers all the same.

But, I didn't come here to write about a brain stolen. I came here to tell you a story about Holy Ground in a hospital room.

Tom and his wife Eutanaha have been married 46 years today. I know they never thought this year's celebration would take place in a hospital room but I want to tell you about what I saw, born of those  years. He told the story of how they met and how she ignored him at college graduation. He told the story of getting married in record breaking cold in Birmingham, Alabama and claimed my mom was his best man. He talked about moving to North Carolina and then Virginia, always side by side. He spoke a lot about his children and grandchildren and all the things he still wants to do with them.

And then he told her that he would still choose her all over again. That she's still the only one for him.

I jokingly asked her if he was always so romantic and she laughed and said "No." And you know what she did? She served him. She fed him. She loved him, guided him, and spoke calmly to him in his frustration with being dealt a hand he cannot win . She was love with hands and feet.

There are moments in our lives when we don't realize that we are being allowed to glimpse the ground where Jesus has walked. You wouldn't think that room - full of wires and beeping and needles and broken hearts would be but let me tell you --- it was Holy Ground. To bear witness to their lives, filled with love and joy and grief - and watch them stand firm in a peace that passes our understanding and to know that in the midst of this storm, there is still a good Father. Oh friends, that is Holy Ground.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Welcome back.

It has been over a year since I blogged.
Nothing to say I guess?
Just stopping by now to do a dump of England pictures from my trip this summer with my mom and my sister. I like saving things like this for posterity, I guess in case my hard drive gets destroyed or something?
So, welcome back is two fold - a new blog post and a second trip to England for me. It was a lovely, fun week full of map reading, subway riding, scenic pictures, some great food, and sweet time with my family.
(Also - forgive the pictures being all in a wacky order. I got tired of trying to rearrange them from a weird upload.)

The first day there, Mary picked us up from the airport and on the way to her house, we stopped at Stonehenge. After flying all night basically and being awake for too many hours, it was so nice to see these wide open spaces, beautiful skies, and amazing scenes.

My favorite little barn in all of England.

A beautiful little country church and cemetery up on the Moors. The weather could not have been more perfect.
Little kneeling pillows in the church. I imagine someone's Mema did all the needlepoint on these so you'd have a soft place to put your knees.

We all nearly melted over this little cutie. Wild horses on the moors. 
And so many sheep!


Mom and Sis on the train!

Old school locomotive. See the fire burning inside right behind the guy?

Our sweet, gracious host - cousin Mary. 

I think Mary said this building on the hill was part of the Royal Naval College.

I loved this little colorful seaside town and its delicious brie baguettes!

Mom and I on the train to London.

The three of us at the Exeter Cathedral. Always so windy!

Inside the Exeter Cathedral.

Hello Big Ben!

We went on a walking tour as part of our tour bus tickets with a super knowledgeable, friendly little guide. Watching the Changing of the Guard was on mom's "don't miss!" list so we actually got to see most of the stages of it from the old palace to Buckingham and everything in between.

Gargoyles on Westminster Abbey - for Mom.
Westminster Abbey.

Part of the Changing of the Guard.

Yeomen of the Tower. And us.

Mom and I at the Tower of London.

Mom and Sis at the Tower. Mostly just wanted you to notice the faux monkey over their heads. 

Tower Bridge - not to be confused with the London Bridge.

Mary was a genius and got us tickets for a play at the Globe Theater. It was a Irish version of the Taming of the Shrew. We all enjoyed it and our seated, in the shade tickets quite immensely!

Inside the Globe Theater. 
This is us being thankful for our seated/shaded seats. 

Westminster Abbey.

The Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, with our 2,000 closest friends.

For mom.

For mom.

My sweet Momma - who can't pass a flower garden without enjoying it - a trait I hope to carry on.

That's pure joy. One of the highlights of our trip was having a proper high tea at the Lanesborough Hotel. So posh. We were totally out of place but had a hilariously good time and the food and tea was delicious!
Watching their flowering tea bloom. 

My favorite little hazelnut chocolate. So they brought me three more. 

I'm so thankful for this woman - and apparently catching my sister off guard. I'm thankful that she wants to make memories and go place and enjoy life. 
And for these guys humoring us with  photo in the park. 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Gift quilt.

I mailed off my first gift quilt last Friday and hopefully the new owner will open the box before she reads this! You've actually seen this quilt here before because I made two of them (thanks to bad math when cutting out all the pieces) so I was excited to have a reason to give one away!

Sweet Baby Ryelle (a.k.a. the unnamed, unborn, they-are-keeping-the-sex-a-secret child of Dani and Ryan) will hopefully have a snuggly first winter with this quilt. Since I don't know the sex, I thought it was safe to do something that wasn't so "baby-ish" and though it is mostly blue, there are some fun pops of red and yellow in there too so it should work (I hope!). This is also a design that I came up with pretty off the top of my head after seeing something mildly similar somewhere else.

This is the whole quilt. It is a square...about 45 or 50 inches on each side. 

I decided to sew a stripe of material on the back too to give it a little more dimension. While this quilt isn't perfect (don't look too closely at the quilting!), I'm pretty proud of it. 

I hand sewed the binding on which takes forever and makes my fingers tired but it is so absolutely worth every single stitch. I love the way it looks so finished on the edges. 

Baby Ryelle, you are so loved and hoped for and prayed over!
 I can't wait to meet your sweet little face. 

Chicago 2015

Why not make it three posts in one day?

I got to go back for work again - a training - and it was just as lovely as the first time!