Sisters, Despite Distance and Differences

My first sister. I'd always wanted a sister and finally I had one.

My first sister. I’d always wanted a sister and was thrilled I finally I had one.

I live thousands of miles from my biological family, and I haven’t spent Christmas in my home state of Oregon for 13 years. So this time of year I spend a lot of time thinking about my family and what they might be doing right now. 

I think a lot about my three sisters, especially this Christmas when I know things are less than ideal for them. We have a unique relationship, and from their point of view, probably very little relationship at all. I’m sure, as the oldest, I know them better than they know me. I held them all as babies, but once they were old enough to remember much, I moved away. When I say oldest, that may understate the age difference. I’m nine years older than my next sister, 21 years older than the next and 23 years older than the youngest. 

Three sisters. The fourth hadn't joined us yet.

Three sisters. The fourth hadn’t joined us yet.

One sister lives in Oregon and two live in Texas. It’s rare that we see each other. To add to the distance

between us, we have three different mothers. But, for me, there will always be a connection. I doubt anyone could understand the past situations that brought us to this point better than us. 

Despite the distance and differences, I care deeply about them. I hope they know that somewhere in the cold Canadian prairies they have a sister who is thinking of them and praying for them and hoping the very best for them.

Merry Christmas to my beautiful sisters!


When My Family Needed a Food Hamper


food hamper1There have been two times in my life when I’ve been the recipient of a food hamper. Both times, we were in dire financial situations and we needed the help. It’s not an easy thing to accept. I wanted more than anything not to need it. I wanted to be able to run to the grocery store and pick up what we required on our own dime. How did it make me feel? Pathetic, ashamed, depressed. Poverty sucks your energy like nothing else I’ve ever experienced.

This time of year, there is special attention paid to giving to those in need and supplying organizations that put together food hampers. My experience as a recipient makes me carefully consider what I drop into the food bank bin and I hope, after reading this, you will too.

Among some, there seems to be this “beggars can’t be choosers” or “they should be happy with whatever they get” attitude. Of course, people are happy to get food. We were thankful for everything we received and for the generous people who gave it. But, I’ve learned that we shouldn’t just toss whatever is cheap into the bin. Can you imagine living on Kraft Dinner or Mr. Noodle? As givers we are looking after the nutritional needs of others, more often than not, those recipients are children. Just as I wouldn’t want to feed my children KD at every meal because it isn’t good for them, the poor don’t want to either. They want their children, and themselves, to be healthy.

People going through tough financial times still need protein and fruits and vegetables just like everyone else. Some needing food hampers are elderly with reduced sodium diets and diabetics in need of lower carbohydrate meals. Often the food we throw into the bin aggravates these conditions.

Ask yourself, if you were receiving this hamper, what would you hope to get to feed your family? Or contact your local food bank and ask what items they need most. This Christmas, I encourage your generosity. You could be helping a family just like mine.



The Mother Who Sits

We rarely recognize the good that is done by a sitting mother.

IMG_00000107Christmas long ago lost some of its magic for me. It’s different when you’re the mom. I don’t look forward to it. In November I compose a mental list of all that needs to be done. Gifts. Baking. Shopping. Christmas Cards. Dinners to organize. Grocery shopping. Decorating. Tree hunting.

For me Christmas equals work, more stuff to buy than money, and a responsibility to make the holiday magical for those around me. And I know what you’re thinking—this is a depressing blog post. Don’t get me wrong. I love the looks on my kids’ faces when they open gifts. I love sharing my home with others and helping them to have a merry Christmas. I do derive some joy from it, but by the end, I’m tired. IMG_1617

There’s always so much to do and we often get praised for those accomplishments—the dinner cooked, the sweets baked, the house decorated—it’s all doing. What about being?

So this blog post is both a reminder and permission giving. I want to celebrate the mother who sits.

  • The mother who sits down to dinner with her family.
  • The mother who sits and reads her children stories.
  • The mother who sits and sings to her children.
  • The mother who sits at the bedside of a sick child.
  • The mother who sits long enough for a child to fall asleep on her lap.
  • The mother who sits and watches Christmas concerts.
  • The mother who sits and nurses a baby.
  • The mother who sits and prays for her family.

The mother who sits is an available mother and an approachable mother.

May your Christmas be filled with what’s truly important. May you disappoint some because you’re being instead of doing. May your children nestle into your side and know they’re loved.