Thursday, February 28, 2013

Because It's Important Part 3

We are ten hours away from breaking our fast together. You will hear a house full of women singing the hallelujah chorus around 7:30 pm (CST).

I woke up this morning thinking about a few things regarding this fast and the feast to come. Matthew 6:11 echoed in my heart,"Give us this day our daily bread!" This verse became more real to me this week. As Americans we typically stock up for a week or two, even then we have enough in our cabinets and pantries to continue to feed us for another week or two. This prayer begs that the needs of the day will be met. I can't imagine how many people across this world are longing that their food needs would be met just for today. That their bellies would be satisfied once. It is very hard to function when your body is craving something so bad and the dissatisfaction lingers on. It messes with your thinking. I slept A LOT this week. Hoping that sleep would make the time pass faster. Many times I would wake up in the middle of the night hearing my stomach growl. That hasn't happened since I was pregnant. This time however, I had to refrain from raiding the refrigerator and just lay there. In the middle of the night and early in the morning when our house was completely silent (very rare indeed) I would just be still and let the Holy Spirit intervene and make known to me what He desires for me. Oh sweet communion!

Matthew 4 records Jesus at the last supper with his closest friends on earth. When he breaks the bread and takes the cup, He tells them he will not eat it or drink it again until the fulfillment of the kingdom comes. Meaning, that He would not observe the Passover (i.e. the Lord's Supper) until He comes for us.

What a fast He is observing. For thousands of years the divine trinity awaits the feast that will be observed when He comes for us. When He comes to rescue and redeem us. An anticipation that must fill His soul to bursting. 

I have abstained from foods and drink, and I cannot tell you how giddy I am about feasting with my friends tonight. Not just in an uncontrollable "satisfy the flesh" kind of way, but in a meaningful, celebratory culmination of what the week has revealed.

He has abstained from US, His beloved! He has fought every inclination to come at every beckoning.  How the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit must be watching their ESPN game clock tick down until the day arrives for them to come with a mighty roar of victory!! To satisfy every longing, to wipe away every tear, to make all things new and glorious! To right every wrong and bind up the brokenhearted. To repair and restore relationships destroyed by death and sin. To fill the bellies of those who have starved their whole lives, to fill the hearts of those who have been starved spiritually their whole lives. "HOLY! HOLY! HOLY!" we will fall on our faces and cry. Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!! What a celebratory culmination for the ages and to last for all eternity!!

Oh, Lord Jesus, come quickly!!


From your listening pleasure, a song I have clung to this week!

Lord, I Need You

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Thinking About Her

Thinking about my mom so much today. She would have LOVED all this snow. She would have inevitably reminded us that HE washes us white as snow. "Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow." Psalm 51:7

Julia wanted to bake today (of course she did I am on a fast from all sugar)..So we baked.

I am not much of a baker. Cook, yes. Baker, no. In fact, when friends came to help over see my children during the week of the memorial service in November, my sugar and flour was still in the basement packed from our move in JULY!! That's how little I bake.

After Julia baked the cupcakes, I showed the kids how my mom used to make homemade icing. It was a total hit!! And for all of you out there keeping score I DID have a lick of the icing. In memory of mom, of course! :)

Happy Snow Day, AGAIN!!

Me and Mama

Monday, February 25, 2013

Because It's Important Part 2

We are exactly half way through our fast for week 1. This particular week we are fasting from food. No, we are not NOT eating, but we are eating WAY differently than we usually do. Some women in our group are eating the menu from a third world country (rice, beans, tortilla, water) some are just fasting from a specific food (sugar, coke, snacks) and some are just eating the same seven foods all week.

Here is my journal entry from hour 8 into the fast;

Day 1 4pm ~ I am about ready to quit!  My head is pounding from a headache. And it's possible I ate my Vitamin C like a delicate piece of chocolate. I've drank like 16 mugs of hot water hoping maybe one of them would turn into coffee. I can't stop thinking about food. I typically don't think about food this much, but I devoured my lunch like I hadn't eaten in days. Even though I had had breakfast 3 hours earlier. I feel like I am in a fog. Probably from the lack of caffeine or the fact my contacts are two weeks expired and the eye doctor didn't get my shipment in because of the blizzard. I keep accidentally bringing food to my mouth while I prepare food for the kids. I don't even think about it! Pretty sure pancakes smothered in honey was not on my list. Monster mom has not escaped from the cage yet, although when my head was pounding and Anderson had found the recorder I had to sit in my room for a few minutes. During the kids rest time I laid down to rest and pray (that my head ache go away) and I passed out for two hours. I think the kids thought I was sick.
I laughed with God telling Him I wasn't sure when I was going to hear from Him in the craziness of the noise around here. I don't have hours to ponder, pontificate, and pray... But He is speaking!! In the un-comfortableness of my mind, in the fog of my crack addict like caffeine withdrawal, in the weakness of my body, and in the discipline of saying, "no"!
As I noted in the journal, I have been running around with old contacts in my eyes because everything is delayed because of the past snow storm and the new storm getting ready to dump ( Random: God and I giggled about the fact that during this week of fast He sent two snow storms so that we might "enjoy" A LOT of time with our many, small children in tiny spaces and NO COFFEE and NO WINE :) Today, the eye doc called to say my contacts came in on the last shipment. I loaded my children up after sledding for PE, and ran over before the impending storm started in an hour. I took out my five week old contacts (I am suppose to wear them for 2) and it was heaven to be able to see with a sharpness, clarity, and focus I had been lacking for several weeks. I didn't realize how comfortable I had become with blindness.

That is what I am learning about myself right now during this fast.  I am comfortable being blind. It is easier to feed every whim of want in my body rather than abstain. I do not leave room for want in the life I live. If I want it, crave it, think it's sounds delicious, then I make it happen. Even if it's walking into the kitchen mid afternoon and peeling a fresh orange from the fruit basket. I just do it and don't stop to think about the depth of richness and blessing I have at my finger tips.  

My sister sent out this article on the life of a Haitian:
 "Maybe you are so impoverished the ONE meal a day the average Haitian eats is unattainable. You and your family are forced to eat "dirt cakes" to quiet your hunger pangs. Your family buys these cakes of clay, salt, and vegetable shortening to eat when you don't have enough money to buy the rice and beans that others eat. A meal of rice and beans costs nearly $1, but a dirt cake only costs a few cents. By eating these dirt cakes, patties, biscuits or whatever they might be called, you almost certainly ingest intestinal parasites. The parasitic worms that were in the dirt will devour up to 25% of the nutrients you eat. Without a 0.02$ de-worming pill these parasites will linger in your digestive tract perpetually." From p81 Haiti Relief


They eat dirt. Not as a mistake, not as a joke, they eat it to satisfy the burning hunger in their gut.

The fast is giving me sharpness, clarity, and focus that I do not believe I would have if I wasn't abstaining. I have sharpness to only invest in the moment right in front of me. I don't have the energy to engage in worrying about trivial decisions and gossip. I have clarity to see the wretched, selfish, spoiled, whiny heart that indwells me, even while ingesting my 7 gourmet foods. And I have the focus to get through the next hour with the strength and determination God can only provide, so that I don't go to First Watch and pour a pot of coffee into my mouth.

God isn't writing on walls or sending angels to proclaim a message to me, but He is whispering reminders of Himself in my heart all day long. I need Him this week in a way that I probably have never needed Him. I need Him to end my wants, as Psalm 23:1 says, "The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want!" He is all I need. When I can not satisfy my culinary wants, HE HAS TO SATISFY!!

Oh friends, this is NOT easy. I am no longer freakishly excited. :) It's actually far and above more difficult than I could have imagined. But the rawness and pliability of my heart is refreshing and renewing.

I can see a little bit better than I did a week ago, and I consider that a win!!

Here's to seeing!

P.S. On a lighter note here are some super fun pictures from the snow!!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Because It's Important

Whether you know it or not, I spend quite a bit of time thinking and praying about what I post here in this space. Words are very, very, intimate to me. I do not take them, write them, or hear them lightly. All that to say, I have thought about this post. I have prayed about this post. And I know I need to write this post.

About a month ago my women's small group set out to go through the book, "The 7 Experiment" by Jen Hatmaker. The subtitle of the book is, "staging your own mutiny against excess."

Jen starts by looking at several passages through out the word of God where He admonishes the rich. I've heard these stories my whole entire life, but have never seen them like this! The rich young ruler puffs up his chest about his laundry list of righteousness and Jesus says," It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of the needle than the rich to enter heaven!"

Luke 6:24
Luke 8:14
Luke 12;21
Luke 1:53

All warnings for the rich. The problem most of us have is that when scripture refers to the rich we automatically think of someone else. Maybe the Queen of England, Bill Gates, or Donald Trump. But the truth is, here in America, we are all so stuffed full of richness that we can not even see over our bloated boats of wealth. If you follow me on facebook you've seen some of these quotes that are staggering, "Excess has impaired perspective in America; we are the richest people on earth, praying to get richer. We're tangled in unmanageable debt while feeding the machine, because we feel entitled to more. What does it communicate when half the global population lives on less than $2 a day, and we can't manage a fulfilling life on 25,000 (35 times that amount)? 50,000 (almost 70 times that amount)? 100,000 (140 times that amount)? It says we have too much and it is ruining us."

The passages listed above warn of the rich being ruined and trapped in their wealth. But somehow pastors, teachers, bible study leaders, elders, deacons, parents, professors, MYSELF have been able to pass the buck on the "rich" and read those passages and think, "Bless those rich people's hearts, I hope they get it together someday! I am so glad I am not rich! Whew! Dodged a bullet!"

We've avoided the hard, hard, reality those verses are FOR US!! THE RICH!!

So this book is a "fast" from 7 common excesses in America purely to seek God. But first, we had to find those places in our lives to empty. Here are the 7 spots we are intentionally emptying in the next 7 weeks so that God and God alone can fill us up with HIMSELF. We will take one fast for one week:  food, clothing, possessions, media, waste, spending, and stress. Each fast is individualized, no two fasts look the same.

This post in not about, "Hey, look at me and what I am doing!" If you think that, than obviously you haven't read any of the other 428 posts here :) This post is about encouraging you to read this fantastic book and begin to understand the beauty of the fast. I have never read or heard anyone teach on fasting in this kind of freeing and non-legalistic way.

IS 58 calls us to get to the heart of the matter, not just paying lip service to wanting God to be an all consuming fire in our lives. I think this study gives us the foundation to allow God to be that consuming fire by emptying ourselves.

Jen talks that in scripture people fast for several different reasons; mourning, inquiry, preparation, worship, repentance and crisis. For me, many of those are my motivation to do this fast. But really I just want less of me and more of God in EVERY area of my life!! I am freakishly excited to see what God reveals of Himself to me and to my family during this time of intentional fasting.

Now go buy you this book!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Sound It Out

"Mom, how do spell ____?"

"Mom, how do you spell ___?"

"Mom, how do you spell ____?"

I hear this a lot these days as I have growing minds blooming around me. Thankfully, we've got the domino effect in full motion as Katie can help Julia, Julia can help Lucy, and Lord have mercy, I am not sure who can help Anderson. Lucy and I have tried to help Anderson, but most days his comic gene just ends up winning and he makes Lucy and I laugh. "Anderson what does your name start with?" Anderson with a crooked smile,
"P-P-P-POOP!" (Why is poop so funny?) MERCY!

I am pretty sure on some level Katie was reading by four. I will feel very accomplished if Anderson can recognize his letters by four. ;) Anyway, back to spelling my day away. Sometimes, the fastest thing to do is spell a word out, but at some point, when I am in full teacher mode, I start saying, "Sound it out! You tell me how to spell it!" The other night Julia was asking Uncle Zach how to spell a word. His response, "you've been given the tools (which is your letters and their sounds) you sound it out!" We do share a gene pool after all.

With beginning readers, I do spell a lot of words out because they are not totally familiar with putting the tools to use. They have not figured out some of the standard English language rules and shortcuts; I before E except after C. When two vowels go walking the first one does the talking. Change the Y to an I and add ES. The Q and the U stick like glue. When the ING comes to play the E runs away. Just to name a few. Whenever one of my blooming minds asks why this word does not follow the rule and this word does, I tell them the people who created the English language were intoxicated
(this is a very non Sunday school answer :)

For instance the word PHOTI ='s fish.

PH~ comes from PHone
O~ sounds comes from wOmen
TI~ comes from the word capTIon

(Thanks, honey for this linguistic example!)

The other night Katie had a total melt down because 8:30 was her curfew and we told her it was time for bed. In the middle of the melt down she told Mark that it was so totally unfair that she had to go to bed and we could stay up as long as we wanted! *aw, youth* She then wanted to know at what point she could pick her curfew, Mark said 16. I sucked in air a little and wanted to intervene, but then I remembered that years ago some very wise parents told us that their child's senior year in high school was fair game regarding the child making the majority of their decisions, including their curfew. They thought that it would be a great time for that child to explore freedom before heading off to college. First of all, BRILLIANT! Second, of all, BRILLIANT! Third, they also realized that their child's senior year wouldn't be the first time that the child experienced a taste of freedom, but all along the growing up years their child would have age appropriate freedoms handed out.  I know from experience this looks REALLY different for every set of parents. I never had a curfew, never. It was just expected of me to check in and be home when I said I was going to be home or call. Maybe because I was the fifth child, maybe because I was SUCH a home body, maybe because most nights I was in bed by 9 , or maybe because I wasn't allowed to leave the house unless I was accompanied by my big brothers... Probably, all of the above, right Dad? :)

Nonetheless, when at the wee age of nineteen, I became engaged it was totally natural because I already had years of experience under me to stand sure footed on, because I had already made some pretty important decisions for myself. HUGE kudos to my parents for this wise and tactical parenting moment!

In a world FULL, and I mean FULL to the bursting point, of helicopter parents who are so OVERLY involved in their child's every moment and terrified to let them "sound it out" in age appropriate ways and age appropriate areas of their lives, I am all for having my kids struggle a bit in order to self soothe, self teach, self sort, self solve, and for goodness have them learn to, "SOUND IT OUT!"  for the sanity of all involved.

I know it's scary. For many it's unknown territory to let your child make a decision, choose an outfit, drain the hot noodles for the first time, (just let Katie do this for the first time last week) play a rough and tumble sport, be left with a babysitter for the first time, and so on and so forth. But it's worth it, I promise.

Here's to one, "sound it out!" moment today for you and your kids!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

And the Valentine's Bye Goes to.....

Mark Littlejohn!!!!!

*crowd erupts into applause*

I don't love Valentine's Day. I am not wooed nor charmed by the consumer motivated agenda behind this pink and heart-ish day. I don't love pink and I don't *typically love hearts.

That was until about 6 days ago.
That was until this was slipped unto my finger.

Isn't it stunning? I think so.

But I am far crazier about the sentiment of the gift.

No, this was not from Mark. Although, Mark did give me a stunning ring about 12 years ago :)
This ring is from my Dad.
This ring was my Mama's.
And for Valentine's Day, Dad had it cleaned and fixed for me.

A perfect gift.

This might be the only heart-ish thing you'll ever see me wear, and wear it I will!!

So really nothing can top this gift this year; no card, no roses, no chocolates (except maybe some Christopher Elbow chocolates), no restaurant. That's why Mark gets a bye...

Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Mutilation of the Hard Boiled Egg

We are big egg people around here. Lucy, our in house health food nut, prefers two hard boiled eggs every morning, (egg whites only please :). Cooking and peeling a hard boiled egg is most definitely an art. The amount of time they boil, how they are cooled, and the first peel requires getting under the "skin". For the most part I thought I had perfected the hard boiled egg....until yesterday.

Three of the four eggs cooked and peeled like magic, and then the fourth egg. *ugh* It was a disaster, from the moment my finger slid under the shell, the whole blooming egg rebelled. The more I tried to gently peel back the shell the more it fought my touch and unraveled on me. Then I got a little more forceful, and.... total fail. I wish I would have snapped a picture because I proceeded to mutilate the darn egg. You could see parts of the yolk (isn't that funny word, say it three times and giggle a little) sticking out. The egg white had jagged edges and looked more like the moons surface than a smooth baby's butt. Finally, I threw it down the disposal and flipped the switch.

How frustrating to work on a rebellious egg.

Have you ever had a rebellious egg kind of day, week, season in your life?

Is the Lord trying to work on you, smooth out the jagged edges of your egg white, and you refuse to humble yourself under His gentle, or maybe not so gentle, touch and prompting. Is He trying to peel back the hard shell of your heart to only to have you unravel in His hands? In order to to peel the shell of a hard boiled egg you must first crack it on a hard surface. Every felt like your spirit, or will, or plan has been cracked, even shattered? I have. Many times.

I am so grateful that the Great Redeemer doesn't throw my life down the disposal and flip the switch. ;)

I am so relieved that my God is in the business of restoration and healing.

He ultimately desires to refine us to make us more like Himself.

To refine means to:
  1. Remove impurities or unwanted elements from
  2. Improve (something) by making small changes, in particular make more subtle and accurate.

I don't know about you, but I have some impurities and unwanted elements in my life that need to be thrown down the disposal. But He doesn't stop there, I love that God desires to improve us by making small changes to us. I am so glad He doesn't leave us alone. That He doesn't leave us as we are. That He doesn't mutilate us when we resist and rebel.

Today, I am filled with a new hope, a hope that inspires me to long to be refined by my sweet Savior's touch.

Sometimes we are refined by shattered dreams, sometimes we are refined by fire, sometimes we are refined by discipline, sometimes we are refined by joy, sometimes we are refined by betrayal, sometimes we are refined by grief and loss. Sometimes we are refined in the belly of the whale, in the rocking chair of the nursery, in the solitude of the bedroom, in the babe laid in the manger, in the chaos of the minivan, in the drought of a trip in the desert for 40 years, in the renewal of the rain ...... or in the middle of a February day standing all alone by your mother's grave.

Refinement can be found in the extraordinary and in the ordinary!

Here is to the great refinement of mutilated hard boiled eggs, like you and like me!
Happy weekend!


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Littlejohns Turn Their Hearts

Each of our kids is so totally unique and exquisite. Each a snowflake. I remember when Julia was born a sweet, southern-bell, touched my arm and told me how sorry she was that Julia was a girl. This dear woman  was really hoping we would have a boy because Katie was so dominant and Julia would never live up to the standard Katie set. All this non-southern bell Mama could think was, "bless your heart!" (This is code in southern-ese when you want to kill someone :) This women should see my Jules now!!

Anyway, all that to say the personalities, the gifts, the wit, the particularities, the preferences, the desires, the tilts of our children are road maps to their core. An advantage we hold to figuring out who they really are. When Mark and I became parents we were determined to be intentional and purposeful in everything we did. From sleep training to discipline, we wanted to have a plan. From the terrible twos, to the transition into adolescents, we have researched, prayed, sought out advice from wise men and women, and have put all of our weight behind raising our children in the way they should go. Notice the they. Not they universal, but they individually. Each way is different. No two of our children have been parented the exact same way, because no two of our children are the same. Had we tried to parent Julia like we parented Katie we would have broken Julia's strong spirit instead of molding her strong will.

In my reading today I came across this verse which inspired a new Littlejohn Creed.

"He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents" Malachi 4:6

I am totally eating up this verse! I love that concept. I want my heart to be turned toward my children. I want  others to peer into the mundane randomness of our life and walk away and say, "those parent's hearts are turned toward their children!" What a compliment. What a motivation to press on. I don't want to just be the run of the mill mom who clocks in her time card for 18 years and walks away. I want to be deeply connected to my children's hearts. And I want their hearts to be turned to us.

I know from experience this just doesn't happen. Our hearts just don't "turn" to one another naturally. Especially, when you take 6 different hearts and make them live under the same roof. It takes concentrated effort, endless hours, flexible agendas, digging relentlessly to see your child for who they are, expressing expectations, pursuing their heart more than anything else, and more love than you can possible conjure up on your own.

So this being the month of love (gag-o-licious) and the month of hearts (I honestly loathe heart decorations)
I am going to focus on turning my heart to my children!

Here's to turning!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

My Husband, the Trailblazer

It's no secret around these parts that I am pretty crazy about my husband. We have this long standing, "I am pretty crazy about you" relationship that we have worked very hard to ensure and maintain over the last 14 years. Sometimes we have, "I am pretty sure you are driving me crazy" moments, as most couples do ;0

Mark's ability and ingenuity never ceases to amaze me. It's one of the reason I was convinced that he needed to be an engineer. When I say, "Mark can do anything!" I really believe that!

As of recent, Mark has read some reports emphasizing the health benefits and productivity benefits of a "standing work station".

So he did a little research and WAH-LAH! He made himself a "standing work station".

Three weeks later he is convinced he is more productive and standing has only made him stronger.

Many have raised eyebrows at his unconventional, "think outside the desk" ways. But for real, it's one of the MANY reasons I love my husband!!

So here is to my trailblazing husband., and to blazing some new trails of your own!

Monday, February 4, 2013

My Current Resume

Woke up this morning to hearing one of my children scream to another one of my children, " I hate you!" All over a bowl of cereal. At which point I rolled out of bed, pulled my hair back into my Mama bun, placed my glasses upon my face and went to solve my first case of the day.

It's not a glamorous position I hold. Very few actually understand what happens on a daily basis behind the closed doors of our home. My SPF (Staff Performance Review) is given by a 9, 7, 5, and 3 year old. Just the other day I was told the house was looking a little dumpy by my three year old, and lunch was too cold for my 9 year old. Most days I feel like I am working with four dementia patients who need everything repeated multiple times.....multiple times.

When I am not a chef, janitor, chauffeur, or Administrator of Littlejohn Academy, I am Sherlock Holmes. "Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?" "Where were you when the 'my little pony' was abducted from the shelf of Lucy?" "Do you deny any involvement in the abduction?" "Do you understand the consequence that will be doled out to the person who abducted the fore-mentioned 'my little pony'?" Then I go to my bedroom to deliberate.

Most lunches are work lunches, I do exactly that, WORK. Our company theme song is heart and soul, our company parties involve an episode of Good Luck Charlie and a Little Caesars pizza. My bonuses come in the form of a child taking an extra long nap or handing down a "go to bed early" card because of a rotten attitude. My work projects include figuring out the fastest and most efficient route through Walmart without having to go near the toy section or candy aisle. Work strategy involves knowing every Starbucks with a drive thru, and where to pick up stamps without having to go in to the forbidden post office. I have been fired multiple times because I am the meanest Mom EVER, and I have quit almost every month since I began this job nine and a half years ago. I have broken every rule in the company handbook and embezzled money from my children's piggy banks. I have hidden in the bathroom with contraband including, but not exclusively consisting of, Trader Joe's Christmas Joe-Joe's. My office supply upgrades include a new sponge for the dish wand and new hand soap for the bathroom. I am on call every day of the week, every hour of the week. In 9 1/2 years I have had about 3 weeks of vacation and I have not made one single penny. I have contributed nothing to our 401k, and I have not clocked one quarter towards my social security benefits since starting this job.

My co-workers are the epitome of dramatic, and they do a terrible job keeping their cubicles clean. They have made me cry, they have bullied me, they have stolen my brain cells, they have thrown up on me, peed on me, sneezed on me, pooped on me, and for years they have tortured me with sleep deprivation. Most days I tell them they are the reason I am going crazy.

But then something as simple as four pictures being posted on my facebook wall make all of the above null and void.

No job at any salary could persuade me to walk away from this... from these four faces that have imprinted themselves on my soul through the testing of fire. How is it that for one second of one day I get to be apart of this; the molding and shaping of these hearts and minds?

I am unworthy.
I am unfit.
I am incapable.
I am undone by the blessing of their touch.

So here is to my current resume!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Suckered Punched... Again

I think the more we talk openly about the grief process the easier it might be for others who are going to walk the path, or maybe those who are currently walking it. It will also serve as a reminder to me, where I have been and what it was like to be there. There is no formula for grief. My grief looks totally different than everyone else's. My grief looks totally different today than it did yesterday. Right now, I feel as if grief has just magnified every emotion I feel. The good is really, really, good and the bad is desperation. Not because each event is really that good or really that awful, it's just magnified by the raw and worn places. I know that time will make the valleys and the mountains level out. I am grateful for that hope ( my husband is grateful for that hope :) 

This morning I was looking up a recipe for an appetizer to take to a super bowl party, and as my fingers slid through the my 3x5 box it was her handwriting that caused the lump to form in my throat. I wasn't looking for oatmeal cookies, but oatmeal cookies found me.

How is it that the formation of words on a recipe card can plunge you into a world of memories? And how is it that one, three letter word can make my eyes burn, "Mom": Recipe from the kitchen of Mom. Mom spent a lot of time in the kitchen. It wasn't her favorite place to be, she much preferred the garden.

Mom's kitchen was always filled with others in mind.
Mom's kitchen was always warm, typically because the oven door was open and she warmed herself in her magic, multi-colored robe dad purchased for her ;)
Mom's kitchen welcomed all and turned away none.
Mom's kitchen opened early and closed late.
Mom's kitchen functioned as ground zero in the Hall house.

I miss the recipes from Mom's kitchen.
I miss Mom's kitchen.
I miss Mom.