Wednesday, June 1, 2011

God, Do You See Me?

It was a deer-in-headlights moment.

Our daughter was on stage for her first ballet recital. I had forgotten to warn her about those bright stage lights beforehand, which meant she wouldn’t be able to see us in the audience. In an instant, I saw her searching eyes and anxiety. Although we could see her just fine, all she saw was darkness.

I wanted to shout out: “I’m here, sweetheart! I SEE YOU!” but that would have been inappropriate. It broke my heart and she was near tears.

How often is this me when I’m talking to God? Jesus, I need you! Do you see me? I can’t see you!

At the end of the dance, the stage lights went off and the house lights came up. My husband and I sprung from our seats and waved frantically until Olivia's eyes caught ours. Relief washed over her face the second she spotted us.

We can’t see Him yet. But we trust that He’s there.

Bring those houselights up soon, Lord.

Monday, January 10, 2011


Usually when you hit a “rollover” birthday, you get some pretty funny cards and text messages.

I loved my friend Callies, which said: Inside every 30 year old is an 18 year old asking “What happened?”

I loved Callies husbands text: Happy Birthday, ya ol’ bag a bones.

I loved Taras handwritten note: Glad you’re going first.

I loved that my husband bought me an incredibly conservative dress from Nordstrom which he deemed “age-appropriate” and we laughed and laughed.

But the card that got me good was the one from my mom.

Although it didn’t make fun of me. It didn’t say I was old.

In her beautiful handwriting, the front of the envelope read: 10,950 days

The card mentioned that not a day goes by that she doesn’t’ think about me, care about me and wish good things for me.

Inside, I found this:

My eyes got misty because I think about how I feel about my own daughter, now four. I know the feeling of always holding on to someone in your heart. And I only have 1,460 days of this down…. My mom has me beat by so many!

Some people said “Happy Birthday, Sarah” but the truth is, “Way to go, Robin!” on surviving 10,950 days of newborn cries, toddler antics, first days of school, sick days, family vacations, teenager rebellion, college term paper editing, a wedding and a pregnancy and a grandchild birth.

Sheesh, I think maybe SHES the one who deserves the card.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


For Gran

The aroma of vanilla extract and warm sugar filled the kitchen as she made my favorite breakfast, Swedish pancakes. She never balked at the fact that I’d eat about six of them until my stomach couldn’t take anymore.

Set up like a queen at the kitchen Island counter with the placemat already set out, she’d warmed the syrup and filled a glass with ice cold milk.

I was seven.

I could get used to this.


Sitting at a wooden desk with my binder in front, anxiously tapping my pencil until the clock struck 11am and the Field Trip would begin, I kept my eye on the door. The parent volunteers would be arriving soon. Cars would fill-up based on each fourth-graders preference, but I was unfazed. I knew we’d all flock to her car first.

I was ten.

I was used to this.

Because my mom worked full-time, my Gran would fill in as a room mom. I was so proud to have her show up and take that involvement in my life. All my friends loved her. We ran to her.


She was my sparkle girl; my Gran.

Others had Grandmas. I had a Gran. Theirs drove Buicks. Mine rolled a Datsun 280Z with T-tops that she’d take off so the wind blew in our hair as we listened to Neil Diamond.


When we would visit her house for dinners, her garage door would always be open. Its as if the front door wasn’t a big enough welcome for the ones she loved. Nope. The garage door needed to be open as well. It was her way of saying to the neighborhood: My company is coming! Welcome!!! And when we’d leave? She’d walk us out to the driveway and chat some more. We’d put the key in the ignition and she’d wave. Then she’d walk to the street and wave some more. Until our car was out of view. My guess is she still lingered there a minute longer after we were gone.

There was never a birthday she missed. She’d time it so the Hallmark card would arrive in your mailbox perfectly on the day. How did she know? Never a day early. Never a day late. It was slightly annoying.

Id find cards in my mailbox for holidays I didn’t know existed. Just her way of saying hello. She’d underline adjectives and put quotation marks around the words she wanted to enhance. I’d tease her about her improper grammar. She was unfazed.
Her love for all things glitter and gold has somehow skipped a generation (Mom!) and found its way to me. My Gran and I are Nordstrom girls, through and through. They know us by name there. I remember when I told her I was dating Joel back-in-the-day. “He works for Nordstrom, Gran,” and then I whispered, “I’m gonna marry this man. He gets a discount.”

I couldn’t tell if she was proud or jealous. Probably both.


My Gran had her share of a battle over these last seven years as she fought that ovarian cancer. Sometimes I think I gave her too much credit for how well she was doing because she kept up appearances so well. I think that was why I was surprised a few weeks ago to get the call from my mom.

“Sarah, she’s in the hospital. Sweetheart, this time she’s not going to recover.”

It was the phone call I’d been preparing for but was still blindsided by.

As I drove to the hospital, I prayed that God would prepare my heart. I asked him for one last moment to tell her how much I loved her. I’d been so busy these past few years; I hadn’t stopped by enough! I hadn’t done enough for her! Did she know how much she meant to me? How did I let this much time go by without telling her? And now it was too late. So much left to say.

I started talking out loud, through tears, in the car. “Gran! How many childhood memories I have of your laughter! Your cooking! And no one can give a hug like you. I practically get lost in you when you hug me!"

But those hugs are different now. She used to be sorta squishy and bosomy – you know the type – when you’re a little kid and your Grandma comes barreling at you wanting to kiss and hug and you’re just supposed to stand there and let her do it but you secretly like it? Now, with the cancer, her body is no longer what it was. And I’m no longer this tiny granddaughter. Time has this way of marching on; of changing us. And yet, we’re still the same. How did we come to this final moment so quickly? Isn’t she still healthy and vibrant? Aren’t I still eight years old?

At her bedside, I held her hand and kissed her face and snuggled her. I all but crawled into that hospital bed with her.

“Gran. I love you. I’m so sorry I’ve been so busy. I’m not too busy now. I am here now. I love you so much.”

She heard me. She squeezed my hand.


Her memorial is this Sunday. I have a feeling its going to be bigger than we are expecting; she was loved by so many. I will be dressed in a Nordstrom dress with just the right amount of sparkle. The key piece of jewelry will be a sapphire and diamond ring on my right hand which has been my favorite of hers since I was five. She gave it to me last Christmas – she must have known in her soul it would be her last.

For a woman who loved sparkle so much, Gran, you have quite the view now, don’t you? I hear the streets are made of gold.

4 Generations

Friday, August 13, 2010

Joy with a capital J

If you looked up the word joy in the dictionary, you might read something about a feeling of great happiness.

When I hear the word joy, all I see is her face.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Footprints of a Princess

This morning an email came in from my dad:

"Bugsly, (what he calls me), I suppose you know me better than anyone, so I’ll tell you a little story about how life can change even those who are set in their ways. As you’re aware, I’m sort of a neat freak and like everything clean and organized. I’ve been known to drive others crazy with this behavior, but I guess there can be worse things to be burdened with.

I stopped off at the carwash the other day to get the car cleaned and vacuumed out; with as much driving as I do, the car gets that summer collection of bugs and stuff that really doesn’t look good (again, a bit of an obsession to clean). As I finished vacuuming out the front and moved to the backseat I stopped and noticed the footprints of my beautiful granddaughter from our afternoon adventures Saturday at the park in Bellingham.

I literally stood there with the hose in my hand, the sound of the motor of the commercial vacuum nearly deafening and couldn’t bring myself to clean away the shoeprints. Truthfully, I couldn’t move for another few minutes and just waited for the 50 cent vacuum to stop as I continued to stare at the seat. I now have an immaculately clean car with footprints of a child on the backseat.

This morning, just like yesterday, I put my briefcase and coffee thermos in the back of my car before I go to the office and stare at those same shoeprints and smile; a beautiful reminder that some messes are just too precious to clean away. These were not just ordinary shoe prints. They were left by a princess…


Friday, July 30, 2010

I dont mind being wrong

The other day I made a slight blunder on-air.

I was talking about a new book I'm reading called Humility: True Greatness. Its a risky little book - and I didn't see it coming. It was recommended to me by a friend, so I just picked it up and started reading. Looking back, I should have contemplated the title for more than 2.5 seconds.

Now, about 4 chapters in, I'm thinking: "Why on earth did I start reading this? Now I'm aware! I can't plead ignorance anymore!"

The book (so-far) proposes that we've all learned how to act humble in front of others, but we lack true humility. I can understand this. If someone compliments me, I'm well aware that the appropriate social reaction is to blush and say "aw, shucks" and kick the dirt.

But true humility? The kind that causes me to honestly assess my sinfulness in light of His holiness? The kind that demands I lay down every ounce of my pride and sit still at the foot of the cross? This is a humility I need to learn more about.

Like I said, this book is a little too much right now. Care to read it with me? ;-)

Back to my blunder on-air. I was sharing about this book, and at the end, I remarked that it was by author "C.J. Mahoney."

(insert sound of a game show buzzer) WRONG.

His name is C.J. Mahaney. Do you hear the vowel difference?

Now, I know that doesn't seem like a big deal, but let me share with you a little-known-fact about being on the radio.

People LOVE to correct me.

As in, I honestly believe, some people sit by the radio and wait for me to make a mistake, and then press their speed dial so quickly that the phone literally blinks in the studio before I have a chance to finish a traffic report.

I share this with you with a slight smile on my face, because I've learned to deal with it and it doesn't really bother me.... that much.

So as soon as I said "C.J. Mahoney" and the microphone shut off, Tom looked at me and we both began to giggle and look at the phone lines, waiting for our stampede of correctors to come through with flying colors.

I was especially excited to be corrected about reading a book on humility... especially because that would imply the correcter was familiar with C.J. Mahaney and thus familiar with his work, perhaps even the book on humility. ;-) Do you see my delicious irony?

My point is this: I'm learning to live more and more in grace. More and more in giving the benefit of the doubt. The more I'm corrected, the less I want to correct others.

So, I extend an invitation to you:

Grace Community Church is hosting a Women's Friendship Dessert on Wednesday, August 25th. It begins at 6:30 pm.

The theme is Embrace your Grace, and I've been asked to speak. I'm thrilled - as these type of events are my favorite to do. Because instead of sitting in a studio and talking to you through a microphone, we get to see each other face-to-face.

And I love the theme: Embrace Your Grace. To me, this has always meant embracing my full story; allowing God to use the tougher parts of my life to reveal His love. I'll be sharing a few personal stories as well as how I try to live this out day to day.

Did I mention theres a chocolate fountain there?

And that tickets are only $7.00? And they're available online!

Grab a girlfriend or two. I'll see you there.


"To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark. In admitting my shadow side I learn who I am and what God's grace means."
— Brennan Manning

Monday, July 19, 2010

I Remember It Well

The following is an actual email that I just sent my parents:

Hey Mom, Hey Kevin...

One upon a time, I was a little girl, probably six.

You guys took me to Baskin Robbins, and I asked to have a sundae in a "helmet cup."

You guys said "No, you wont even remember that plastic cup in a couple of days."

I cried.

Now is your chance to make it up to me... as they have them again. Don't screw up this opportunity.