Sunday, January 1, 2012


I stared at her through the gentle tears that were welling in my eyes. It was one of those moments I knew I must remember because it was special...somehow sacred. My cousin, the little one with the blue eyes and golden wheat hair, was whimpering and wincing in pain. It was the night before our journey through the sky back home; leaving as the new year came. Eva was lying on the bed asking for a back massage of sorts, when someone pressed her neck wrong. That's all it took to send her crying in paralyzing pain. I knew her muscles were weak and didn't hold her back in alignment properly, amongst other health ailments, but she had not encountered a "serious" injury since we arrived. I can still hear her voice through her whimpers and Corrie's explanation of her particular syndrome: "Basically...I'm fragile." Images of bubble wrap and gingerly pasted "handle-with-care" labels flashed thru my mind and all I wanted to do was hug and cradle her. After her brave attempts to keep us from worrying, to comfort her sorrowful sister, to discount her tears and the pain, and to not want to bother her mom at grandma's house (who would, according to her, "only cry"), I knew I was honored to witness this girl...this remarkable girl with the fragile body and strong heart. We carefully got her into bed, with her neck brace, and she restlessly attempted to find the best position. After ice...pillows...props for her knees...prayers..."brow-strokings"...cds...she told us how she felt like a queen. I informed her that her neck brace was once the fashion of the English queens of old, with a little more "neck frill." She laughed...and then cried because she laughed. Finally, we heard her uneven darling little sleep breathing.

Never have I met a girl quite like my Eva. Sacrificial, tender hearted and gentle, loving and gracious, joyful through adversity...the strongest of hearts. Although her body is frail, her character and heart is strong, because it seeks refuge and trusts in the One who fashioned it. Her adoration for Jesus has, thus far, shielded her from insecurities and discontentment that could foster bitterness and ingratitude. She understands in her weakness He is strong, and does not consider her ailment an excuse for entitlement. All is grace. Oh how the enemy would love to break and sprain her heart, the way the curse of sin has sprained her body. How he seeks to disable her trust and thwart her joy by turning her eyes to the "world" language...the language we see. It doesn't make sense that God would work through the small, foolish, broken, weakest...and the moment we think He can't, we've succumbed. His promises are inherited by those who rely on His strength, not their own...who truly believe He alone is sufficient and the fulfillment of life. That very evening she was telling me about another situation in which her plans fell thru, and she stated "You know what Andrea? I was really really sad...but then I was just reminded that all I need is Jesus." All I need is Jesus. She has learnt the key to contentment, the key to saving grace...the key to life. Cling to it, darling.

I will miss her. I will miss waking up to her in the next bed over telling me about living on the ranch in Montana, different horse breeds (I am completely inept upon that subject), saving babies, and Jesus. I will miss cozying up to books on tape and "awweing..." and sniffling at the same parts. I will miss practicing British accents with her and giving her hugs. This 22 year old soul could learn more of the language of the giggle-wimperer. The truster. The humble one.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

my father.

Today is for my father, the man who considered a whole day with us a treat and discovered every way to squeeze adventure out of it, the man who would tell us stories that coincided with his favorite music, the man who loved when I would sit on his knee or hold his hand, the man who took me on dates and splurged on me just because, the man who always invented games and took us on adventures, the man who rescues me when my car won't work in the middle of the night, the man who brought us up to think highly of goodness, truth, and beauty, the man who constantly prays for me and is always up for a long hearty discussion, the man who loves my stories and is proud of who I am, the man who invents terms for things and attaches sentimental value to movie quotes, the man who is the founder of all our traditions, the man who calls me endearing names of unique varieties, the man who trusts me and listens intently to my heart, the man who has a radar a mile thick and protects me from things I'm oblivious to, the man who always smiles and winks when he sees me, the man who tells me how beautiful I am often, the man who stayed up late to listen to the "book" I wrote and constantly encourages me to be an author, the man who makes the best lattes in the world, the man who loves to learn and loves to teach, the man who is brilliant and has the answer to most any question, the man who takes us on trips, the man who is active, athletic, and brave and enjoys the great outdoors, the man who pursues God's thoughts and craves to live righteously in His name, the man who loves and protects my mom, and the man who sacrifices himself daily to provide for his family.

Thank you, Dad, for setting about me pillars of security, for guiding me in the truth, and for pouring worth into my heart. Life would not be the same without you. Your love and attention, guidance and counsel, presence and stability, and joyfulness and grace have allowed me to blossom (and continue blossoming) into the woman God wants me to be. I'm so thankful to be your daughter and I hope, with all my heart, to be a blessing to you today and every day that you are mine.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

my mother.

Today is for my mother...the woman who stayed up nearly all night sewing a 'dress-up' dress for me, the woman who braided my hair and fluffed my bangs, the woman whose smile always greeted me when I woke up and blessed me before I went to bed, the woman who played competitive games and read enriching literature endlessly, the woman who took us on adventurous road trips, the woman who revels in traditions to celebrate the specialness of life, the woman who values my company and cherishes my heart, the woman who pursues heaven with reckless abandon, the woman who faithfully chronicled all our precious childhood moments in videos and photos, the woman who wrote me letters and journals of encouragement, the woman who taught me in patience when I wanted to give up, the woman who discovered new and inventive ways to teach us, the woman who makes yummy treats and watches fun movies with me, the woman who often fixes my heart when it's broken or situations out of my control, the woman who is practical, refreshingly organized and accomplished, the woman who takes me out on weekends alone, the woman who intently listens to my stories and takes joy in my accomplishments, the woman who is always hospitable and thoughtful to others, the woman who loves and honors my dad, and the woman who lifts me up in prayer and directs me to my heavenly Father.

Thank you for being my darling mother, the one who has gifted me with a scope of the world that is full and enriching, for pouring worth into my heart, and for loving me with a sacrificial love. It is because of you that I have the confidence to be the lady God desires, and it is by your example that I seek to grow in His grace. I'm so proud to be your daughter, and I hope with all my heart to be a blessing to you today and everyday that you are mine.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Man On Wire

We watched this in Art class...exhilirating, mysterious, adventurous, and magical.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

the hustle and bustle of celebration.

God continues to freckle life with celebration! My little darlings, Kori and Elise, flew down from Spokane for spring break (as well as Kori's boyfriend Topher). On Tuesday Topher surprised Kori by proposing on the very hills she sought refuge in growing up. I could jump for GLEE I'm so happy! I'm also so happy he proposed to her in her home town, so I could help celebrate (yes, Topher, I know that was your whole purpose). Yes. My best friend and darling, Korena Apffel, will soon be married and titled Korena Webber! That sounds nice.

Life is so full of surprises, new beginnings, changes, and progressions. I remember many a wedding ceremony down our stairs in oversized, old, ripped, gowns and tattered veils, with little wilting daisies. I remember eating honeysuckle at the park while mocking our silly sisters. I remember sleeping together in the single top bunk of a cabin eagerly awaiting the hiking journey to follow. I remember laying in her tree fort as our hearts huddled around the mysteries of God. I remember grinding acorns into very nutritious "fairy food." I remember making crafts and writing stories. I remember attempting to sell flowers on her street. I remember planning for our own B&B, and actually making a cardboard model. I remember tea parties, long walks, photo shoots, and friendship rings. I remember imagining what our future husbands would be like and praying for them. And now she's marrying a fun, feisty, loving, leader who shares her adoration for coffee and bikes and her passion for Christ and His kingdom. Their wedding will be glorious, as will the start of their future together. I can not WAIT!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

kids say the darndest things.

Babysitting is therapeutic. Some things they say that brighten my world.

The Sahid girls...Abby (6) and Audrey ("free")
Abby (after we put paper flowers all over their dining room chandelier): "it looks soooo looks so looks SO's very festive" and finally the clincher "it's like the FESTIVAL came through town!"

Abby: "Andrea...guess what I am going to YEAR?!"
Me: "wow. that's a ways a way! What?"
Abby: "I'm going to help with, passing out chocolates."
Me: "that is sooo exciting!"
Abby: *after endless giggles* "I KNOW! When mom told me that, I just felt SO big."

Audrey): "Andwea, if I get scawed can I cawl you?"
Me: "Yes, Audrey, you know you can always call me. But you have no reason to be scared, alright? So think happy things and just go to sleep..."
Audrey: "But what about Mr. Nigh?" *an alleged horse hater in an American girl doll book*, at this point she's totally milking it.
Me: "Sweetheart, he's not real, and he only hurts horses...not little girls..."
Abby (fully displaying that she is her older more "inquisitive" sister): "Actually he ca..."
Me: "Be quiet, abby."

Audrey: while videoing me tell a crazy story with their dolls
Me: "And they were running in the forest in the rain and Elizabeth fell down a hill *Ahhh*. Felicity runs to her rescue...'oh elizabeth it will be alright, the magic wood pecker will get us home soon...'"
Audrey: "I cant hold my hands stwaight anymore with the camewa. I'm tiwed."

My cousin Camila (6)
Me: "I'm thinking of something I like..."
Camila: "ME!!"

Camila: "When I grow up I want to ride a horse without a saddle into the middle of a beautiful garden. I want to bring some instruments in with me and play them in the garden."
Erica and I: "Who are you, child?!"

My little Coulombe munchins...Thompson (6) Owen (4) Calvin (2)
Thompson: I found her crying in bed after she broke the "special" hanging vase in the bathroom:
Me: "Why is it special Thompson?"
Thompson: "It's...ittt's.. the vaa*se *gasp* wee...hold our floooooowweers in!!!!!! ahhh...*gulp*"
Me externally: "Oh honey, mom loves you more than the vase and it will be was an accident."
Me internally, busting a gut: "yes, Thompson, that one was way more important than the 'vases' you don't hold flowers in."

Owen after picking me a flower: "Andarina, put it in youwr haiwr."
Me: "thank you, honey."
Owen: "Whoa. Its so a wedding."

Owen in his knight helmet and sword): "Andarina, youwr haiwr is so pwetty"
Me: "Aww...that's such a knightly thing to say."
Owen: "and you're eyes...and you're face."
Me internally: "can you just be mine?"

While playing Narnia in my back yard...we were in the sea and I was susan, owen was peter, and calvin was edmund
Me: "Ahhhh...Peter help me I'm falling."

Upon discovering a heart shaped chicken nugget at Wendys
Me: "I 'heart' you."
Owen: "I heawrt you."
Me: "I heart you."
Owen: "Well I HEAWRT YOOOOU!!!"
Me: "I heart you more."
Owen: *stumped at my grammer shift and struggling for a comback*
Me again: "I heart you most."
Owen: *finally locating the words* "Well I heart you one BILLION BADAGILLION!"

Jake (3)
Jake: "When you're downstaiwrs can you heawr me?"
Me: "Yes I can...goodnight I love you."
Jake: "I love you too..."
*half way down the stairs* "Cawn you heawr me?"
Me: "yes"
*all the way down the stairs*: "CAWN YOU HEAWR ME?"
Me: "YES I CAN!"

Thomas (7)
He wasn't feeling well
Me: "What's wrong Thomas?"

Yeah...amazing. I love their ability to say what they're feeling without any worry or self consciousness. I love that when they're feeling big they just pop out and say "I feel big," and when they have a particular aesthetic interest in my curly hair one day, the tell me so honestly and freely, and I love that they are concerned with the shape of chicken nuggets. It's just wonderful, and the more I'm around them the more I want my soul to return to some of these pure ways...those aware, noticing, free, trusting ways. What darling parents they have to foster such innocence and to raise them in God honoring homes!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

sibling pride.

Tonight my brother came back beaming (or more like wilting) from his first day of debate tournament, at Concordia. He subtly told us that his presentation was hailed as the best one his partner had ever seen. YAY! He looked so cute.

And presently I am sitting up as merely one of the pillars of moral support for Erica as she waits for her 2:00 am ride to the airport, for her Torrey trip to Rome. I am so proud of her. Days of reading, preparing, shopping, packing, are finally paying off. She's fluttering around like a fretting butterfly, with jitters and a bout of anxiety. But we're all here, some of us drooping slightly on couches, for comic relief, to fill any gaps in her wardrobe with part of my own, and to simply enjoy the process of traveling anticipation. She will have so many adventures I can not wait to hear all about. Arrivederci Kiki!