Peace: Wholly Holy

This is the final post in my series on peace during the holidays.

As I write this I’m sitting in my cozy corner of the family room. The Christmas tree lights are casting a glow from the living room and Mitzie is snoozing at my feet. The subtle sounds of the first day of winter break provide a calm heartbeat…a teenage daughter padding about in jammies…the murmering of father and son talking sports over lunch, faucets turning on, the dryer cycling with clean sheets.

And in my head, the list of “to do’s” scrolls like movie credits. It’s not unusual, of course to feel a bit fragmented this close to Christmas…there are cookies to be baked, last minute gifts to wrap, notes to be written, travel plans to make. Every year, I find that I seem to be racing toward the “finish line,” not so much to have Christmas behind me, but rather, to bask in that finally-finished feeling….knowing that the preparations are complete.

My race-to-the-finish had a bit of a detour this year. My great Aunt Catherine (also known as “Great Aunt Cate”) is in the hospital with pneumonia and congestive heart failure. She’ll likely be there for Christmas…her 97th one on this earth. Not exactly a perfect scenario.

But Aunt Catherine knows plenty about “imperfect.”

When she married Uncle Dick, she was in her early twenties. He was older, a widower with two young sons. They added two more sons to their family in the years that followed. (and of course, anyone who raises four boys knows that life is FULL of a lot of “imperfect!”)

Aunt Catherine and Uncle Dick,and their famous rhododendrons on Mentor Ave.

Their house on Mentor Avenue held all those boys…along with cousins, neighbors and friends. The window in the downstairs bathroom was low enough so the boys could open it from the outside, roll in to use the facilities and roll back out, hardly missing a bit of play time. The kitchen was tiny, and certainly without the luxuries of granite, stainless steel and built-in appliances. It didn’t matter. Everyone was welcome and comfortable. And, with boys, there were probably lots of typical messes in the house and yard… broken dishes, broken bones and broken windows.

There were also broken hearts. Doug, the youngest son, a bright, verbal, quick witted kid, got encelphalitis at the age of two…the doctors told Aunt Catherine and Uncle Dick to put him in an institution, but they brought him home and raised him during a very imperfect time in history for kids with special needs; public school wasn’t an option and services were scarce. Still, they persevered. Doug grew and learned and overcame many challenges.

I asked Aunt Catherine several years ago how she coped with all of that. “Oh, honey,” she said, “We just did what we had to do.” Her greatest legacy, for me, is her courage and resolve in dealing with disability…her sense of peace in brokenness..

And so, as I rush toward the Christmas finish line this year, I’m reminded that the brokenness is really the best part of the story. Jesus didn’t enter into perfect circumstances…His bed was hard and scratchy, and He was surrounded by smelly sheep, and curious strangers. This was NOT the type of “perfect” birthing suite I would have planned  for the Prince of Peace!

The Hebrew word for peace is translated as “nothing missing, nothing broken.” It’s hard to fathom, isn’t it? It’s not the sort of peace one can achieve by reading helpful hints for teaching kids or entertaining friends here on this blog. And it’s not the peace that I’ll feel when my to-do list is complete. It’s the kind of peace that only He provides to a waiting, watching, broken world that is hungry to be whole. 

I wish you all a wholly holy Christmas.



Sometimes it’s good to be alone with your thoughts.

And then again, sometimes, it’s good to turn around to those you love and share what’s on your mind.

Thank you, Mitzie, for helping me to illustrate this point.

I’ve been reflecting lately…and I’m ready to share, in no particular order, my random musings:

  • My mom called in tears the other day because she had watched part of Inclusion Fusion and she was proud of me. I don’t think I’ll ever outgrow that.
  • My friend Kerri Peterson-Davis told me that the older she gets, the more she understands her mom. I have found this to be wise, and true.
  • I have never taken physics and for this, I am truly grateful.
  • The longer I am married to Tom, the more I realize that his calm, steady demeanor is incredibly unique (and a fine foil to my intensity.)
  • Kindness is a quality I hold in high esteem.
  • Freedom of speech is a right and a responsibility.
  • Lately, before I take action, I ask myself, “In 20 years’ time, will I be pleased with the way I acted and spoke?” I still fall far, far short of how I should act (and react) and I hope to improve.
  • I wish we still used grammar worksheets in every school every day.
  • I don’t know how to play Canasta, but I’m quite good at charades.
  • In this season of Thanksgiving, I have much for which to be thankful.

Next week: Some fun hospitality ideas for your home and family. Hope you are enjoying some cozy fall weather!


Say it today.

I was working on a post about collaboration between teachers and parents, but that will have to wait. I have other, more important things to tell you today.

I just returned from the calling hours for a much-loved man in our community. He was, in fact, my attorney, the gentleman who drew up the partnership agreement 10 years ago for our little educational consulting firm.

We had grand plans, my business partner and I…and we excitedly shared them with our lawyer. He smiled, when we were finished and said, “Now ladies…remember this: You are mothers first. You want to set up your business in a way that you can always be mothers first.”

And so we did, taking his advice and recommendations….and it’s served us well from the very start. I shudder to think of how much I would have missed if we’d done things “our way” instead of listening to his wisdom.

As I worked my way through the receiving line this afternoon, I finally had an opportunity to speak with the oldest daughter from this family. I don’t know her well, as her children are older than mine…all graduated and mostly finished with college. We hugged and I said, “I loved your dad very much; he gave me such good advice!” She then smiled and said something I’ll never forget:

“Oh, Katie…I know you did. Every time I saw you, you would always tell me that. It meant so much to me while he was alive, and it means so much now that he’s gone.”

I had no idea how often I’d mentioned her dad’s kindness and wisdom to this lady…but apparently I had. Please note: this post is NOT about me, or anything that I did. This gentleman was the sort of person that engendered kindness and good will. It was the way he lived his life and conducted his business. His example made you want to share what you learned from him…he inspired encouraging conversation.

As I said, this post is NOT about me. It’s about the opportunity that I have–that we all have–to use our words to build up and encourage each other. Today. Not just when grief has taken residence, or tragedy has struck. Not just when tears are falling and hearts are broken. Today. This minute. Not out of fear, because “tomorrow might be too late” but out of love, because it matters now.

Because, as a family, we’re called to say it today:

“Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.” (2 Cor 13:10)

Many of you have stopped here at Diving for Pearls and offered encouragement to me. I’m thankful for you…each and every comment does my heart good. Thanks for being part of my family.

Wishing you comfort and joy today~