A love letter.

Dear Kate,

Twenty years ago, I fell in love with you.


At 8:00 am on March 8, 1993, you took your first breath outside my womb and made your presence known. Until that moment, I had never before witnessed perfection.

Until that moment, I didn’t know love could be so big and so strong. I felt overwhelming love deep in my bones when I held you, and I saw it on the faces of your Father and your Grannie the first times they held you.


After your birth, the doctor told your Father you were a footling breach. That means you were right side up when you should have been upside down. And your umbilical cord was wrapped around your foot. The doctor said it was very dangerous and you could have died during birth.


You didn’t, of course. The doctor didn’t know you. She didn’t know my CupKate who’s never made a fuss in her life. Who always bucks up, head up, and makes things work. It was the first big sign of who you are, that you could have been a big mess, a child full of drama and complications, who instead came out perfect and perfectly poised.


From that day on, I have fallen in love with you another 7,300 times, basically every day I have known you.


My heart is bigger because of you. My touch is gentler because of you. My instincts are kinder because of you. My soul is filled with gratitude and hope and optimism because of you. I am excited about the future because of you.


Did you know you impressed your Dad and me from the start? He loves to tell the story of how smart you were even as a baby, a baby who got caught sneaking away noisily the first time and crawled away quietly the second time. He loves to tell the story of how you walked miles with him on a cold winter day at age two.


He loves to tell the story of how calm and brave you were after the neighbor’s crazy dog bit you. Of how charmingly superstitious yet stoic you are. Of how enormous your love and loyalty are. Of how sound your judgement is. Of how, every day of his life, you have loved and cared for your brother.


Me? I just love to tell the story of you. It’s the best story I know.


Happy birthday, my sweet baby Kate.

With gratitude {for the gift of you},


Abundant blessings.

Dear friends,

Not what we say about our blessings but how we use them is the true measure of our thanksgiving.

— W.T. Purksier

My heart is full this Thanksgiving, brimming with gratitude for our abundant blessings.  Our table is full and our bounty is evident.  A house full of guests, love for each other, good health, a delicious meal shared in safety and comfort . . . peace . . . these are the jewels of this day I dare not take for granted. May we use these blessings, in measures large and small, that reflect a glad and generous heart.

And I wish you, dear friends, abundant blessings.  Drop in sometime this holiday weekend, won’t you, and leave me a comment letting me know how you’re spending your Thanksgiving?  Power eating . . . football cheering . . . napping . . . traveling over hill and dale to see loved ones . . . whatever your activity, I wish you good cheer and godspeed.

I’ll be here on our beautiful Missouri acreage, happily humming ‘round the kitchen, delivering stealth hugs and kisses to any child within arm’s reach, and steeping in the life God has granted me.

With gratitude {for abundant blessings},

Joan, who’s got 13 tasks on her Thanksgiving to-do list today and has already completed three of them while the six other souls in her home sleep soundly