fireflies in jar on the beach Amy Breitmann
What I Learned From Fireflies and Sparklers (The gift of darkness)

What I Learned From Fireflies and Sparklers (The gift of darkness)

I don’t need to look at pictures because I hold snapshots in my heart. I close my eyes and picture my son running down the hill with a star-spangled top hat perched on his toddler head.  The next year he holds hands with his sister, with red, white and blue goggles flopping behind his ears as they jump into the pool. I replay memories on this Fourth of July. I stare at my nineteen year-old son’s face. He seems so mature and contemplative as we banter about this year’s menu. I laugh at his request for sparklers again this year.   I add them to my grocery list.  I suppose we’re never too old to want to light up the sky with the loopy cursive of our names. I secretly hope he’ll always want to see the fireflies awaken. If I close my eyes I can see the scene from years earlier, when...

It’s Not My Song

It’s Not My Song

The sheet my son holds is thin and weathered from the years. It is an inherited page from my husband's family. The words and songs were his as a child and are our tradition now, and we claim them in this kitchen one more year.   He is 18 and he reads Isaiah while "Joy to the World" plays. My daughter is on FaceTime from her college dorm room and we have her propped up at the end of the table. This is our tradition and we have vowed to call each other every Sunday in advent if we can't be together. The lighting of the advent candles together is something we have done since they were each babies. We remember the anticipation that lasted hundreds of years. The waiting, the expectation. Knowing something is coming and asking over again: When? How long do we have to wait? My son...

Our Journey with Anxiety: A Mother/Daughter Perspective

Our Journey with Anxiety: A Mother/Daughter Perspective

I'm not sure how old Shelby was when I noticed that her emotions were deeper and more sensitive than most. But I do recall arranging and rearranging her stuffed animals A LOT to get them in just the right spot so she could sleep.  Perfectionism is a trait she inherited from me, but there was something more going on. My daughter will turn 21 on Christmas Day and she has grown up to be an articulate, sensitive, self-aware, and deeply faith-filled woman.  She doesn't miss a Sunday at church or an opportunity to meet with her small group.  She is a leader on campus and a mentor to children.  She is studying psychology with and aspires to continue in graduate school with a degree in occupational therapy.  She has always wanted to help others. She also has generalized anxiety disorder. It's...

More Than Medicine

More Than Medicine

Before the Foundation, family members were sleeping on the floor of this hospital, desiring to stay close to their loved ones who had suffered life-altering burns and wounds. Family members could now stay there, close to those they love.

God’s Got It

God’s Got It

I'm so honored to welcome my friend Jennifer Dukes Lee to this space today.  She is a fellow lover of Iowa sunsets and dirt roads.  Our paths first crossed several years ago on a writer's retreat and God orchestrated many meet-ups since then which have included evenings at her Iowa farm catching fireflies with our girls and a trip to Haiti serving alongside each other.   Jennifer's authentic words have spoken into my own life on so many levels and I know you will be blessed by her words, her humor, and  her heart for Jesus. Here's just a  little glimpse into her heart and the heart of her latest book which releases today:   We say that God has everything under control, but we aren’t always aware in the same way that a farmer is aware. That’s one of the biggest lessons I’ve...

Let’s Bring Back Handwriting: The InkWELL Challenge

Let’s Bring Back Handwriting: The InkWELL Challenge

In a world full of technology, handwriting still holds the most power. Many years ago my grandmother moved from the home she had lived in for most of her life to a smaller apartment in a retirement community.  A few weeks later a large box arrived at my house.  Our postal carrier delivered a brown cardboard package that held every letter I had ever written to her. They spanned a forty year period. I sat with each letter, note, and photograph I had sent and marveled. My entire life was there in that box- from the earliest scribbling to my ramblings about being a mom with two children in middle school.  My own handwriting told my complete story and these pieces of paper are one of the most precious gifts I have ever received. The arrival of that box all those years got me thinking- what...

More Than A Hotline

More Than A Hotline

What A Depressed Friend Might Need Right Now ------------------------------------------------------------- Two weeks ago my daughter’s boyfriend bought her a Kate Spade wallet in NYC.  We had wandered around touching all the pretty things, basking in the happy glow that surrounds Kate Spade stores.  I had texted my friend Tracy a picture of the flagship store in NYC because I knew of her passion for bows and all things Kate. Although Kate had sold her brand to Neiman Marcus in 2006 (the brand has had several owners since)  and was currently working on building other brands, she remained the iconic founder and figure behind the beloved brand. I read just today that the last marketing campaign launched by the Kate Spade brand before her death was called “Where’s Kate?”   All videos have...

To My Son on Graduation Eve

To My Son on Graduation Eve

Dear Son of Mine on Graduation Eve, I love that my heartbeat was the first one you heard and that my hand the first to hold yours. That God entrusted broken me with you is humbling and overwhelming.When I first became a mother to you I had no idea. About so many things.For starters:I had no idea that you would say some form of “mom” or “mama” or “mommy” a dizzying number of times a day. Every. Day. For. Years. Or that I would follow you around for months on end cleaning up messes. (Eventually I got a clue that “messes” were a stage not to be outgrown. I surrendered and began to make messes WITH you. I love that part. You taught me that messy memories are the best.) I didn’t know that I would hum the tunes of Disney movies daily. Or that I would pretend I know how to dance with you and...

Dear Friend Who Doesn’t Like Mother’s Day

Dear Friend Who Doesn’t Like Mother’s Day

The greeting card aisle is going to be packed this week at the grocery store- dozen of folks swarmed around to find just the right words to stick in an envelope. It's coming Sunday: Mother's Day. This is the day we set aside to celebrate moms and all they mean to us.  Seventy-five percent of all the flower sales in the U.S. each year happen THIS weekend.  That's a lot of roses, ya'll.    For many moms and their children this is a beautiful day filled with family and flowers, good food and gifts.  We will smile and thank our families and share a meal, and it will be restful. I anticipate it will be that way for me. But this is far from reality for many. Because sometimes there are no words and no bouquets. For some Mother's Day can be a brutal-reminder kind of day. The day that points...

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