Category Archives: Growing Pains

A Man Who Will be Missed

Click here: Randy Larson’s obituary

I have ordered a wreath for the service, and for Judy to preserve afterward. Here is what I wrote on the card and a pic of the wreath:

Judy and Gabe –

We are so sorry to hear of Randy’s passing.
As you well know, he had the power to
change lives and influence purpose. Randy
set a high standard for not only learning,
but for living as well. We pray for God’s
peace and comfort in the midst of your

– BHS Alumni and the Burns Community

Please forward this info to anyone who might be interested. If you would like to contribute to the cost of the wreath you may do so by PayPal-ing my email address ( or by delivering a check or cash to me in person.

Order Total

Sympathy Wreath – Preserved: $49.99
Standard Delivery $11.99
Morning Delivery $9.99
Rush Delivery $4.99
Care & Handling $2.99

TOTAL: $79.95

So sad – I encourage everyone to leave a note for Judy and Gabe at the bottom of his obituary.

Life and All It Brings with It

Wow.  What a freaking summer.  It seemed as though things were never going to calm down.  Here’s a rundown for ya:

May 16: Grandpa finally gave up the ghost and went to live with his Lord!  Yay for him!, crappy for us.

May 18: We seriously got hit by a tornado.  An F2 tornado.  According to the Fujita Scale of tornadoes, here’s how an F2 is classified -Considerable damage. Roofs torn off frame houses; mobile homes demolished; boxcars pushed over; large trees snapped or uprooted; light object missiles generated. They aren’t a kiddin’.

It went through our front yard, about 20 or so feet from the house.  The wind it generated sucked our cattle trailer over on its side (check out pics below), picked up our 5th wheel camper, plowed it through the pool enclosure and dropped it upside down in the back yard on top of the neighbor’s fence.  It took the kids’ trampoline, twisted it all to heck and dropped it in the field north of the house.  It took Caedmon’s playhouse (big, giant insulated playhouse) and threw it at the house, right through the weight bearing post holding up our extended dormer over the front porch, and through the front door.  Thankfully, the steel door behind the screen door held it back.  Two windows broke, the office’s broken through both panes, causing a little mini-tornado in my office.  Grass on the walls, glass shards stuck in monitors, water and dirt everywhere, papers ruined and scattered all around.  It also took the french doors between the office and front room and tried to rip them off the hinges, breaking the frame in the process.  The doors took the beating quite well, but the hinges are so bent that the doors won’t close.  Ripped the back window off of my car and Jeremy’s pickup, along with taking the flat fiberglass topper off the pickup and throwing it behind us about 1/2 mile south in the neighbor’s pasture.  One of our calf huts was broken, but we could only find part of it.  The other part?  1 1/2 miles south, still sitting in the creek.

We had so much crap strung all over the yard, but especially in the neighbor’s pasture.  It took 3 adults (thank you Eric & Gini) 3 hours to clean up all the remnants of the camper.  Did you know insulation gets really heavy when it’s soaked?  And it sticks really well in the ground, too.  Also, anything can become a projectile missle when powered by a tornado.  I found a paper plate embedded sideways in the hard pasture ground.  Ridiculous!

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The very next week: Audited by the IRS – for the 3RD TIME!  They have never found anything, but somehow that ‘random’ pick always picks us.  So, spent a good week getting 4 year-old paperwork together.  Yeah, that was 2 Windows Operating Systems and 3 Quickbooks ago.  Had to use Gini’s computer with XP and ’03 Quickbooks to pull all of our information up.

I seriously thought I was going to lose it.  In fact, one day I nearly did.  Jeremy and I got into this huge argument about I-don’t-even-know-what and I left for the rest of the day.  And night.  I spent the night in my car in the empty church parking lot.  I had hit a point where I felt like I just couldn’t give anymore; I didn’t have anything left to give.  Call me crazy, but isn’t that when the entire world is at your doorstep demanding attention?   I was done.

But God, through the grace of His Son and my husband, was not.  Jeremy let me vent, which I don’t do often enough.  God brought me close, where I could feel His warm embrace.  My kids still loved me (and were none the wiser anyway) and still offered their unconditional love.  My home still needed tending to, as only I can.  My purpose, though fuzzy, still rang strong and true:

Even though I don’t have it all together,

God still counts on me to show up.

To listen.  To talk.  To cry.  To love.  To be loved.  By Him and the family He has entrusted to me.  I don’t have to be perfect, because in God’s perfection I am.  He takes the little I can offer and uses it for His Glory’s sake.  The tiny bits of appreciation I show to Jeremy – God enlarges them to accolades in my husband’s heart.  The little strokes of comfort I give to Jonathan and Caedmon – He produces His love and encouragement to carry on their day.

My purpose?  To show up.  Not because I’m good enough, but because God is good.

Happy Birthday!

My grandpa is dying.  As I write this, he is literally suffocating to death.  I want so badly to be with him, but also know it will not benefit him.  We got to spend last weekend there, lying in bed with him, listening to his funny stories, and just being in his presence.  I have to believe that was sufficient.  I have to remind myself that my first priority is caring for my kids and husband – not sitting with Gpa for an undetermined amount of time while he withers away.

I want him to go.  I want him to feel the joy and the happiness that must accompany being freed from his broken body.  He is suffering from emphysema, a nasty disease that causes your airways to contract.  Because he smoked for 40 years (like a chimney), all he can do now is pray that God shuts his heart down.  His oxygen is not doing him any good and he can no longer talk more than two or three words.  His lungs just can’t keep up and one of these days, he’s just going to exhale, and all will be over.  Soon.

I don’t have the words in me tonight (it’s so late and sleeping pill is kicking in) to write a proper memorial to my wonderful grandpa, but I didn’t want the day to end without wishing him

A comfortable 86th birthday.

Born on Mother’s Day 86 years ago in 1924 – he has lived an amazing life as an amazing man.  He has shaped me in so many ways, just through his love and influence.  I love you Gpa, and I pray that God will grant you rest very soon.

God is good. All of the time.

Friday, November 09, 2007

I, unfortunately and regretably, am an expert on this subject. I have had so much experience in this field, I may as well have invented the entire concept. Some believe that it all started with a shifty snake in a garden, antagonized by a foolish female, who was then followed by an ill-advised male. They are mistaken. I did, in fact, design what we will be talking about – sin.

Obviously, the above is not true, but my goodness, sometimes it feels as though I could have been the cause and beginning of the most shameful act that forced the rest of humanity into consequence.

I was talking to someone a while back concerning a friend of their’s current living situation. Her friend is shacking up with her boyfriend of several years. I asked this person what her friend tells herself to make this decision okay, to which she replied, after hesitating, shrugging her shoulders, “It’s sin. We all sin. I sin everyday.”

I was somewhat taken aback at this rebuttle, given the person I was having the conversation with. She is well aware of the affect and outcome of living in sin. I don’t believe she actually believed herself what she was telling me; that sin is sin, and we are all guilty. While that statement is true, the intent behind it is not. The premise of that shallow excuse to continue on as our human nature instructs was to defend someone she loves very much; someone she looks up to, and doesn’t want to chastise, even as a friend, and more importantly, a fellow Christ-follower. I seem to recall Jesus instructing the woman at the well, who was also guilty of shacking up, to “go, and sin no more.” He did not say, “go, and take heart in the fact that your friends and family are sinning just as you are.”

When have we become so flippant in our attitude toward sin? Have we used the word so often, had it shoved down our throats by preachers and parents, spouses and siblings, that we no longer understand the result of its power – Satan’s power over us? We go about our personal lives, not even wanting to recognize the depravity of the sin nature, much less address it in ourselves, then in those close to us. But, we have to! If we do not hold each other accountable for the sake of loving that person, and because we are concerned with that person’s relationship with their Savior, we are powerless to ask and receive God’s amazing grace. Without a repentant heart, our prayers are in vain. When a friend hurts you, apologizes, asks for your forgiveness, then turns around in the same breath and hurts you again, it is next to impossible for you to feel forgiving toward them. Granted, God is God and His Son already took all of our sin upon Himself, therefore our unrighteousness is completely hidden from God. But if we continue on in our sin nature, in our iniquity, in our irresponsible decisions, what is the point of Christ’s death on that cross?

Just recently, our pastor gave a sermon dealing with this issue, and I didn’t realize at the time how imperative it really was. His main point was “Until we measure our sin by Who we sin against, we will never have motivation to change.” (That’s paraphrasing) Do we have motivation to change? Do we care that when we live with and sleep with someone out of the context of marriage, that we are making that choice to turn our back to Christ dying in our place? When we choose not to care for our bodies and minds, we are taking the only mortal life we have been given by God and intentionally trashing it? When we lie to cover our own mistakes and irresponsibility, we are flagrantly telling those around us that we can put God in a box – using Him when it’s convenient for us?

Again, I am extremely deft in this thing we call sin. It is so ugly, so demanding, so entwining, so inviting. We can’t avoid it, as my friend pointed out. However, I do believe we can choose to either engage it or fight it with every fiber of Christ’s being in us.  But fighting? Fighting is good for the soul and pleasing to God – and OH MY GOSH, do I encounter grace and mercy when kneeling before the Throne. Do you delight in your depravity, taking advantage of the fact that He has already conquered ALL sin? Or do you delight in said mercy and grace, drowning in it while praising Him for such undeserved love?

tread lightly.

First, a memorial program for the funeral of Grandpa Tweed.  Next, a Christmas card from Jeremy reminding me that he ‘loves me more than anything or anyone on this earth’.  Then, a blank Father’s Day card I printed for my Dad many years after his death.  A real estate brochure depicting the beautiful house of a dear friend who would soon move away.  A birthday card that says ‘God put me here for a purpose’.  Two more birthday cards, one of them filled with flowery words from a wonderful friend who isn’t flowery at all.  An old Snoopy card from my son where he writes ‘you are specel’.  Another card from my hubby thanking me ‘for everything I do’.  Yet another from my oldest friend, and she includes the surprise ‘I’m next =)’ revealing her first pregnancy.  More cards from Jeremy, one of which states ‘I’m the woman who keeps him from being a complete savage…unless I’d like to do the savage thing.  That fine him.’  Finally, a worn envelope addressed to ‘Jeremy, Michelle and Jonathan’.  In the corner, someone else wrote ‘This was in some of my mom’s stuff’, referring to his recently passed mother.  Inside, the sweetest note telling us how much she loved us.  Even while dying, she had the forethought to write her loved ones a goodbye letter.  Attached is the program from her funeral; a funeral I cancelled a flight for as I was asked to sing a solo, and was so honored to be considered.  Last thing in the envelope – a newspaper article highlighting our pastor’s final sermon after 28 years of shepherding his tiny congregation of 80+ sheep.

Wonderful cards from wonderful friends and family.  Why can’t I enjoy them?  I really want to just sit down for a good cry, but who the heck has time or energy for that?  I know I’m PMSing, so it’s natural my emotions are swaying sharply left and right.  For the second time in a week, I’ve managed to lock my keys in my car.  The first time it was a mere inconvenience, taken care of with my mother-in-law’s generosity in loaning me her vehicle and my husband’s eventual homecoming armed with a coat hanger.  This time?


I’m just pissed.   Jeremy is of course gone.   I still haven’t even returned my mother-in-law’s car yet because I’m not done cleaning it out after a weekend full of 12 year olds!  She has stuff that needs to be done, I’m up to my ears in paperwork and tax prep, and my keys are tauntingly dangling from the ignition!  Oh. My. Gosh.  My once clean house is now a wreck again, I’m behind on laundry, I’m exhausted, I’m sore from working out and I’m so freaking hungry because I’ve been eating nothing but salad for 2 straight days!  To top it off, my new computer monitor is crapping out on me, my business checks won’t print for some stupid reason, and I want to pull all of my hair out!  Not just out of frustration, either.  Have I mentioned lately I hate my hair??!

Seriously, where is the Calgon Man???????  Cuz you know he can’t wait to hang around me.

So…Now What?

Today is The Day.  The Day I’ve been dreading all summer long.  The Day my purpose in life is questioned.  The Day the clouds come in and depression lugs an oversize suitcase.  The Day I’m faced with nothing but time and stark loneliness.  The Day I knew was inevitable but never really believed would arrive.  The Day the clock and the calendar suddenly seem so fleeting and blurred.  The Day the curtain draws on everything I have been, everything I am and everything I thought I was meant to be.  The Day my head spins inside of itself attempting to watch my life in reverse while it is indeed speeding forward.  Today is The Day.  The Day my baby left for Kindergarten.

caedmon bus caedmonbus