Wednesday, March 31, 2010


I am tempted to bargain with God. This temptation has been with me for a year now. I would like to say "Okay God, see me here. I am trying to be okay with this. I still love and honor you. I continue to call you my God. Don't I deserve extra blessings? You took away -my- Kira and I am learning to be okay with that. It would help a lot if you would give me more somethings. Don't I deserve them? I worked for them. Oh, and yes Kira is gone but You can't dare take anything else from me. I wouldn't be able to handle that. Do something God, make it more obvious that you love me if you actually do." And so my thoughts go on. A few things I am learning in relation to this temptation are as follows:
1. When the sun goes down every night, God is still God. When I close my eyes at night, God is still God. When the sun comes up, my eyes open, and I determinedly plant my feet on the floor-God is still God.
2. God might have a different idea concerning blessings than I do.
3. My interpretation of God is so unreal about how God actually is; I am blinded because I am human and God is not.
4. Eternal blessings far outweigh earthly blessings.
5. I can't suggest to God what he should do - He is sovereign and knows what is best for me because He can see the whole picture of my life and I can't. I can only surmise what I think the picture might be.
6. Being a begging dog reaching for a bone is not a nice way to live.
7. What I consider "our children" or "my husband" or "my things" are God's and so I don't have the authority to demand He not touch them.
8. I don't have an opinion in what I think I can or cannot handle - God's grace is always bigger than my need.
9. God's love for me doesn't depend on circumstances, actions, or whether or not I honor and love Him.
10. At the end of this life when I meet God and finally see His face, this is what I want to hear "Well done thou good and faithful child, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.
11. I am blessed!

Kira liked to be in the kitchen with me. Sometimes out of desperation to keep her out of my stuff I gave her and Marlea bowls of flour, a cup, and a spoon. Great entertainment and great cleanup afterwards. Meanwhile I tried to find a spot for myself in my small kitchen and could hardly find any space left. I usually ended up in despair with a cake or five baked and little girls covered in flour. Of course they ended up happy and ready to go play something else again, leaving me with the flour to clean.

Merlin is fighting to stay healthy. Please continue to pray for his healing and pray that the rest of us would know how to encourage him.

Marylu and Merlin, Marlea, Anna

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Shirts

When Marlea was born, she had a hard time going to sleep in her crib. I became desperate and thought maybe if she could smell me in her crib she would go to sleep. So I gave her my shirt. I would put it under my pillow during the day and at night I would give it to her. It worked a little at first, but what really happened was that Marlea became deeply attached to the shirt. When Kira was born, one of Marlea's main concerns was that Kira needed a shirt too. So I gave Kira another one of my shirts. Both shirts were from Jockey and had the same design and feel. Kira likewise grew deeply attached to her shirt. There was no sleeping until the shirts were in bed. Many a night we had to hunt around the house, empty bags, go through the toys until we found the precious shirts. They were lovingly stroked at night, cuddled close, even gently wrapped around dolls. When the soft padding of little footsteps were heard in the middle of the night beside our bed - we could count on it that the shirt would be along. If it wasn't, of course we had to retrieve it. The shirts went along on trips, Friday nights at Grandpa's house, and comforted the heart anytime. When Kira grew old enough for a pillow, each night she would carefully drape her shirt over the pillow. Without fail when she came out in the morning, she would be holding her shirt. If I would remember, I would hide them under the pillows during the day to avoid the evening search. That shirt is now in my bed. Like it comforted Kira - it comforts me. It's a piece that was hers that I can touch. Every night I carefully arrange it under my head. Sometimes I put it over my heart. Many a night I have used it to dry my tears and muffle my sobs. It goes with me on trips, often stuffed in my pillow. It looks out of place in my bed - like a stranger that shouldn't be there. To anyone else it would look like something I forgot to hang up. To me it is Kira's shirt and I wouldn't be surprised if it would stay there for years. Like Kira I even fear losing it. I cherish it and am obviously attached to it.

Every once in awhile in the morning I would hear loud screams erupting from the girls' bedroom. Upon investigation it was almost always the same problem. One blamed the other for stealing their shirt. They felt the same and in the dark you couldn't tell the one was blue and the other red. It created motivated fights complete with hysterical screams, thrashing arms and legs, and passionate words spewing out of the mouth. A thing as simple as a light usually solved the gigantic problem. You would have thought it was a life or death situation. Just like the girls needed something they could touch to feel secure when Mommy or Daddy wasn't holding them, so I cling to this red shirt - fervently awaiting when my eyes will see my heavenly Father.

Please pray that we would be open to God's leading and desire, and continually claim His grace in our lives.

Marylu and Merlin, Marlea, Anna

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


I can't get away from feeling incomplete. It isn't something that I can fix. We go on vacation - the feeling is still there. Who likes to go away without a member of the family? We go shopping and buy things but it doesn't take away the incomplete feeling. I would like to scream; but it still wouldn't go away. Our family is incomplete. I watch other families and wonder how it would be to again feel complete. But then I remember and the pain comes in waves. Sometimes I feel the feeling when I look at someone who is missing someone. I feel it for them - a feeling I couldn't feel before. I see the pain on their faces - pain I didn't comprehend before. Ironically they see it on my face too. The act of living fully without being complete is something I am learning slowly. It doesn't come naturally for anyone. It is so opposite from the yearning and longing we have inside of us for a perfect world. I stop frequently to prevent myself from believing things will make me feel complete. More children won't make me feel complete. Running away won't kill it. I know someone who can fill it and I go there again to the foot of the cross. It's Jesus who can make me complete in this incomplete world I live in. It's Jesus who can make horrible things beautiful and fill me with peace.

When I think of being complete, I often think of Sundays. That is a day that families often feel complete. We go to church and usually spend the day together. Kira was such a bright spot on Sunday mornings. Marlea frequently seems to arise on the wrong side of the bed. Kira would often be at the front door first-coat on, yelling "Come on, Mia". I had a habit of turning around in the car just to make sure all the faces were wiped, etc. I miss her face... it was usually beaming from ear to ear.

Please pray that we could live fully in our incompleteness.

Marylu and Merlin, Marlea, Anna

Monday, March 8, 2010

Worn Sandals

I am a bit sentimental; I don't like to throw away old clothes, shoes, or things from my childhood - I want to hang on to them. To throw away things means moving on, getting older and embracing changes. Last week I threw away a beloved pair of sandals; I was attached to them. For months they sat in my room waiting for me to decide their destiny. I couldn't wear them anymore - they made my feet hurt. I didn't have room for them anymore - we don't have a large apartment. I couldn't pretend that they still looked nice, since they didn't. I couldn't say that I needed to wear them longer; they had served their purpose well. So, I closed my eyes and threw them into the trash. I thought about them in the trash for a few days. When I took out the trash I saw them again and had to squash the impulse to dig them out. Throwing them away felt like being okay with changes and I don't like changes. It means embracing a new pair of sandals with which I have no memories. Memories - that is what ties me to my sandals. For starters, I bought them with my friend Lenora. That's a good memory because we don't often go shopping together. A few months later Merlin, Marlea, Kira and I went to Thailand for three weeks. It was a wonderful vacation and one that we treasure deeply. Then the countless times I slipped them on and chased after Kira. Kira tried walking in them like little girls do. They were a bit large which she discovered only after driving some of us nuts by clopping around. When Anna was born I wore them to the hospital and home again. I wore them to many a party, weddings, and many more events. Last fall I wore them in El Salvador - though they weren't very comfortable then any longer. I even wore them in the winter sometimes. To throw them out to me means moving on. It's the first thing that I actually threw away that had attachments to Kira. My next pair of sandals won't know the joy of running after Kira. They won't remind me of her; she will never clop around the house in them. I am still missing my sandals. I forced myself to part with them. I need room for new ones. Likewise in my life I will move on to some degree. Right now it seems like it will always be a struggle. Going backward seems more comfortable to me than moving forward. Just like it was painful for me to throw away the sandals - being okay with new memories that don't include Kira will remain painful for me also.

Their are some days in this house when I seem to be the least-liked member of the household. On one of these days a while back Marlea and Kira thought they would like to sell me on Ebay. How nice to get rid of the person who keeps order, arranges to pick up toys, take baths, eat vegetables, and wipe dirty mouths. The thought of selling me seemed appealing to their minds. Oh well, at least it wasn't freecycle or Craigslist.

Continue to pray with us that Merlin will be able to remain healthy, and that my persistent cough and aches would be healed. It's a hard time of the year for him especially and I feel myself being fearful. Pray too that our bodies will continue to strengthen. Grief has definitely taken a toll on us all.

Marylu and Merlin, Marlea, Anna

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Bottom

The Bottom - it feels as if I am there. This past week has been difficult in some ways, but strangely in other ways it wasn't much worse than any other week. It took me a while to be okay with that feeling. Actually saying that to my friends who asked me how I am felt so humbling. It feels so revealing of the horror the pain - how unstoppable it is, and how much that pain is a part of my life. I don't have anything more left to grieve with, no more energy to exert, no more emotions to feel. The knife feels nearly as strong as it did a year ago except that now it comes and goes instead of being constant. Is there more left under the bottom for me? That I don't know. This I do know - it's here at the bottom in this valley where I can offer my altars of praise to God for simple pleasures of life. My altars consist of being needy and empty before God, thankful for His care for me, praising Him for His grace and goodness in my life, and the rest He has to offer me continually. This valley is increasing my faith, building up my trust in God, and continuing to set me on a rock - a firm place. The mountaintop seems very far away and I have no strength to think of climbing to it. Here at the bottom in this valley I will stay until I am healed as much as I can be here in this world. Or who knows - maybe the healing takes place on the mountaintop? I continue to marvel about the mystery of God; He has become even more mysterious to me here at the bottom. Psalm 40:2 "He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along."

One day in the spring of 2008 it was raining; the cats and dogs kind of rain. There were lots of puddles outside and Marlea and Kira got the idea that it would be nice to put on their swimming suits and go puddle splashing. Nice idea, but it was cold. Not just a little cold, the real kind where mothers who are sane would never let munchkins outside in swimsuits. It was one of those days that I had enough of everything. Anna was a few weeks old and I was still adjusting to three children. I let them do it, swimsuits and all. In a short period of time they discovered what I meant by "being too cold." Meanwhile I watched from the window, laughing as they shivered in the puddles.

Please pray that we will be open to God and joyfully accept His will for us. That sounds strange; we should be accepting this after a year. The struggle is still here. Also please pray that we will remain physically healthy.

Marylu and Merlin, Marlea, Anna