Chase Fireflies


Hodgepodge Love: Easter with Kids


Preparing Children’s Hearts  (Kids Journey to the Cross):   A Sense of the Resurrection

Jesus Storybook Bible (our absolute favorite for kids!) Video:  God’s Wonderful Surprise 

And More Tactile Learning:  Resurrection Gardens 

Empty Tomb Cake:  Edible Learning  or Resurrection Rolls:  Easter Breakfast 

And Now for the Awesome Eerie Bunny and Crying Kid Pictures:  Funniest Pictures Ever 

How are you celebrating Easter with your family?  Have a great Easter, friends! 


Training: 10 Key Things I’ve Learned about Running

This picture of me cracks me up.  You can’t really tell that I’m running, but I swear that I am.  This 5K was killer – high 80s, crazy Pittsburgh hills, and moving before I typically get out of bed.  I hadn’t stretched out prior to the race and hitting it cold was not the smartest thing I ever did. 

After running this puppy, I didn’t run again for 7 months.  I saw an orthopedic and complained about the price of physical therapy.  For someone who had fallen in love with running, not running did me in.  I leave my sweat and tears and pride on the track.  Hauling them around with me was pretty miserable.  I got to thinking I was too old. 

Silly me.

I am running again;  free of pain this time.  Whoohooo!!!!  The physical therapy must have worked – and I learned a lot while in it.  I will keep at this thing, albeit still awkward form and painstakingly slow.  But this time I’m going at it wisely.  I’m still new at this, but here is what I’m learning:

1.  Cross Training is Key:  Swimming, biking, elliptical, walking, yoga, kickboxing, playing monster tag with the kids at the park, whatever. 

2.  Core Strength Really Matters:  I had no idea that most running injuries occur because your core is weak.  My core was a disaster zone (hardly registered on the strength tests:).  Crunches, weight machines,core strength classes, and the exercise ball are (slowly) helping me with mine.  Let’s be honest here though – I would still much rather run 4 miles than do 50 crunches.

3. Watch Your Form:  Have someone take a picture of you running.  It helps you see what you need to work on (posture, foot strike, arms).  A bad form will eventually lead to injury.  I’ve got a pretty balanced foot strike, but when I’m tired, I tend to slump my shoulders.  My weakest core ever also contributes to my horrible hunchback run. 

4.  Keep Learning:  Chi Running has some great principles, seminars are everywhere, Runner’s World, etc.  I have found that following a program also helps.  I really like Hal Higdon’s training programs and adapt the 10K one to fit our schedule. 

5.  It’s Not Supposed to be Easy:  Running can be excruciating.  Run anyway:)  Reluctant Runners is a pretty funny site devoted to people like me.  Their tagline is, “We love running… just not while we’re doing it.”

6.  Eat Right:  Yeah.  This one is also hard for me.  I tend to overindulge when I am running, so not caving in to the Tabasco Cheez-Its at midnight is really tough.  I also don’t always make time to eat well.  But I know that I’ve got to set a right example for the kids, so I’m eating the spinach, drinking the smoothies, fending off some carbs, and trying to balance the diet out with healthy proteins. 

7.   Go Easy:  You would never know it by looking at me, but I am a fierce competitor.  I can get pretty fired up about stuff under this calm exterior.  Last year, I monitored every single run and charted it.  It drove me nuts.  I am always pressed for time and running was no exception.  This year, I’m running for distance or time, but not both.  I love my runs so much more now that I’m not competing against myself anymore!

8.  Listen to Your Body:  My physical therapist helped me a ton by just telling me to listen to my body.  She guessed that my running injury was a long time coming and not the product of one race.  I am so not wincing around the track anymore!  If I feel knee pain (only twice thus far in 2 months of training), I cut out, take it easy, or substitute another form of exercise. 

9.  Keep Accountable:  Whether it’s to a chart, a friend, facebook, a blog – go it together with someone else.  I am accountable to the chart on my kitchen fridge and our kids.  I really like giving myself happy faces for my training and our Little Man really indulges me with stickers.  (I am that mom in the grocery store who has a big sticker on her bottom and in her hair.)

10.  Enjoy:  I used to run for exercise.  Now I just run because I can’t get enough.  There’s nothing better than setting a goal and reaching it.  I am a better mom and wife when I run.  I have more energy and determination.  I am more at peace with life.  I am more in tune with God.  It’s never easy the second mile in, but by the end – it’s worth every step.

Are any of you runners out there?  I beg of you – tell me what you know!  It has been so helpful to get my sister in law’s tips.  (She is the speedster in our family!)  But what else you got?  I’ve still got a ways to go!


How we Met Court (Marathon Relay 2012) Part II


This is the second post in a series about our marathon relay this year (Part I is here.)  Because I have issues with being concise and I have Ellsworth in my blood, this has nothing to do with running and everything to do with a little camp in New Hampshire and a friend I met there.  This year, our run is raising money for this friend.  (That’s her on the left.)  I call her Court and this is how we met….

It was here where I really got the love of God for me. 

In a rec hall, with voices maxed out, foot stomping, guitar strings breaking, hands clapping and “I Saw the Light.”  Sitting in pajama pants and a t-shirt, cross legged on our cabin’s roof, hearing of an authentic love. 

And I came to life here;  laughing and running around that lake and getting ruined by a Savior’s deep love for the mess that was me. 

It was what I dreamed about from the moment I unpacked my bags as a ten year old. Going back and becoming a counselor one day and living my summers on that very lake.  And doing so with my closest friends.  And so we did. 

But counselor jobs were hard to come by.  Getting paid to take care of kids and have the time of your life?  So we scooped ice cream and fried onion rings in a snack shack for a year and grueled in the kitchen for another year. 

We served up wicked Baked Alaskas and washed a million dishes and hauled massive food orders and cooked for hundreds and got locked in the walk-in freezer. 

But we earned our keep in that rickety cabin, screendoor slamming and a couple feet away from the lake. 

We became counselors the next year.  Had our own cabins in the woods.  Jumped off of buildings, dressed up in camo for Persecution, led devotions, played greased watermelon, chased kids, made pyramids, wrote letters home, and found friendship. 

It was here on the docks of the lake where we got to know Courtney.  Every day, in the sun, whistles around our necks, canoe wars, and backstroke and freestyle.  Staying up all night and weekend trips to LL Bean and driving around in the black hearse, which was (for real) our camp vehicle.

And it was impossible not to love this girl. 

Fiery.  Courageous.  Passionate.  Real.  Fiercely devoted.  Beautiful. 

But this is just the story of how we met.  That’s not even the half of it.


Tuesday’s Riches: Friendship

31 years after we met on the playground in 1st grade

they play together;  our kids, almost 1st graders themselves

and as we talk, women now; our dreams at 11 and 17 and 25 have come true;
we catch our girls talking and they could have been there for hours. 

and we have said goodbye for israel, turkey, korea, china, thailand, brazil, india;  miles between
and now only a  car drive apart

and who would have known about so much good but our God of good; 
  the unexpected, undeserved, unrelenting riches of God.

Love you, H


How it All Started (Marathon Relay 2012) Part I

It all started.  And I am embarrassed to say it went this way. 

No part of me wanted to run this year.  I was scared to aggravate a knee injury.  I didn’t want to organize anything.  I had so little compassion, drive, or care.  There was deadness in me. 

But there were friends who said we were running, like it wasn’t an option (ahem – Michelle).  And there were students who asked if we were, pleadingly.  And there was this dream.

And I am a practical kinda girl, hesitant to believe in weird stuff like dreams.  And I don’t dream much, but when I do – I am usually some covert military officer on a submarine fighting the North Koreans and feeding my children macaroni and cheese.  Suffice to say, I don’t really put much stock in dreams. 

But there was this other dream.  And in the dream there were children.  Laughing, like my own;  giggling because they looked beautiful.  They were wearing white and they laughed and laughed.  They were so happy.  And then this door opened and their expressions changed.  It was dark beyond the door. 

In my heart I knew I had to do something.  But I was paralyzed with shock and terror and I couldn’t speak up.  And noone heard me because I never raised my voice.  And before I knew it, the children were gone.  

And with them went the laughter. 

I woke up in tears to silence.  Their silence and mine.  I couldn’t hear them laughing.  It was dark outside.  I couldn’t hear my own voice doing anything about it.  We shared the silence of those who had died. 

God met me that early morning in this black of night.  In the death, He brought life again and He covered my shame.  He has always covered my every shame. 

There are these words of God that I love in Psalm 34:15.  “Those who look to Him are radiant;  their faces are never covered with shame.”  I can think of so many who fit this description.  I see their faces now as I type and I am better for having known each of these sisters, brothers, parents, friends. 

But there are children, for whom this radiance is being withheld.  It is my prayer that these children would also one day be able to look to God. 

That they would be rescued from a present darkness, that they would be found by the One who heals, that the radiance of childhood would return, and that they would receive ALL freedom from the shame that others have imposed.   

UNICEF estimates that there are over 2 million children trafficked into this darkness.  Would you pray with me for their rescue, healing, and care?  That these children who look to Him will be radiant;  that their faces will no longer be covered with shame. 

This is how 2012’s run started – Part I of the story that God is writing.  My team of five registered for our relay in the Pittsburgh Marathon two days after the dream.  And within two months, fifteen other runners had registered as well. 

Wait till I tell you about Part II.  (It’s about this girl who jumps off cliffs and sprints towards life and who is very much a hero to me and I am proud to call her my friend:) 

Till then, please check out this page to learn more about our run. 

Thank you friends.  Because of Jesus,


20 St Patrick’s Day Ideas for Kids


Since 3 out of 4 of us were on antibiotics for Valentine’s Day, we didn’t do a whole lot to celebrate.  And one of my fave things about being a mom is celebrating!!!!!!  So, we are doing up St Patrick’s Day big!   Here is our quick list of random fun ideas for kiddos.  My favorite is #10!  Please add your own!!!!

St Patrick’s Day Ideas for Kids:

1.  Color milk green and eat Lucky Charms!
2.  Make Rice Krispy treats green and cutout shamrocks. 
3.  Create leprechaun mischief .  Color the toilet bowl green, have your kids wake up in their siblings’ beds (thanks for the idea, Michelle!), turn things upside down, dress up your pet, etc.

4.  Learn about the life of St Patrick.  (What a biography!)
5.  Enjoy a shamrock shake from McD’s or make a knockoff.
6.  Make Thin Mint Truffles.

7.  Dip ice cream sandwiches in green sprinkles for an easy snack.
8.  Hide gold coins in a sandbox to dig for a pot of gold.
9.  Create Rainbow Fruit Skewers.

10.  Have a Treasure Hunt:  Hide 17 numbered shamrocks.  Have each shamrock correspond with a paper bag of goodies.  (We did this last year for the kids and they LOVED it!)  We bought a couple of small necessary items that the kids needed anyway (socks, underwear, hair elastics),  and the rest we found around the house/pantry – random green goodies like packs of gum, fruit snacks, a can of green beans:), a Thin Mint box, green fruit roll ups, dollar bills, etc.)  Have the kids go on a treasure hunt and then redeem their shamrocks for surprises. 

11.  Paint rainbows and shamrocks on their faces. 
12.  Garnish breakfast with kiwi slices in a shamrock shape.  Garnish dinner with a green pepper slice.
13.  Dress in green from head to toe.

14.  Eat only green – green smoothies, grapes, celery, green apples, kiwi, green eggs, salad… 
15.  Paint nails green. 
16.  Play learning games (we’ll be graphing, playing word bingo, etc.) with rainbow Skittles

17.  Make heart/shamrock stamps out of potatoes.  Play hot potato.  Eat baked potatoes.

18.  Read a book about St Patrick’s Day!  We love:  St Patrick’s Day in the Morning by Eve Bunting, Mary McLean and the St Patrick’s Day Paradeby Steven Kroll, and The Story of St Patrick’s Dayby Patricia Pingry. 

19.  Make Lucky Charm Snack Mix. YUM!!!!!
20.  Use the shamrock to talk about the Trinity of God.

What is your favorite St Patrick’s Day Idea for Kids? 

Leave a comment

Tuesday’s Riches


Come with this day.  The waking up alive to coffee and a giggling child.  There is overcoming fear in the pool today and it  is no small victory.  The tears are huddled in the eyes but the torrents are not. 

Running a couple of miles without pain – just the joy of one step after another and worshipping in sweat and tears around a track. 

Hearing a good prognosis; my mom’s laughter; a child’s questions.  Getting a haircut for the one who giggles and looking in the mirror thinking BEAUTIFUL.  A fluffernutter in the park. 

Feeding animals, so gently, palm out flat.  Sliding into laughter in what shouldn’t be spring air yet.  Celebrating with rainbow sherbet. 

Studying and learning, reading and growing.  How do we solve the problems and sound out the words.  Cleaning and taking care of what has been gifted to us from a Gracious Hand.  Folding warm clothes out of the drier. 

An NBA basketball game starring a 4 year old in a worn Celtics jersey and mesh shorts right there in our living room. 

There is so much beauty in Tuesday for the taking.  He has gifted us with glory here.   

May we I have eyes to see it all, respond with joy, and lift up the dripping child – the ice cream – the biopsy reports – the clean towel – to the One who deserves every praise.


About Living and Dying

The dermatologist says that she has no choice but to biopsy three suspect areas.  And I have laid down on that table before, with the white roll of paper underneath.  And the incisions become routine over the years.  Waking up to the morning sun and living and dying. 

This life is about living and dying.

And I would be lying to you if I told you I wasn’t afraid on that table, with needles and scalpels around.  I cannot leave the surgical room yet.  I get dressed and I sit there in the chair and breathe.  Living and dying, living and dying. 

This life is about living and dying. 

For a moment so brief , I hate melanoma.  I do not like having to be afraid of what this skin is harboring.  I am full of fear and anger and remorse and shame.  And I am afraid for my husband and kids and family.  Living and dying, living and dying. 

This life is about living and dying.

But how can I live without death being a part of me?  And is it the Melanoma that will kill me?  Or gripping fear itself?  Or maybe living as if what my eyes can see is all there really is?  There is much cancer to be removed from this body and you know what?   It doesn’t look like Melanoma at all. 

All that is lethal needs cut out so that life goes on with the living.

And how can I die without having had lived?  To know the freedom of Christ.  To live arms wide opened, head held back, a steadfast gaze on the One who loved my soul.  To have loved and to know tears and to have fought hard and to have fallen hard and to have crossed the finish line and to be present and to stare at fears and win. 

This life is about living and dying.  And just for the record, I intend to live and die each day.  God has been so good to me. 

I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.  -John 12:24

Leave a comment

Hodgepodge Love


“An authentic life is the most personal form of worship.”  -Sarah Ban Breathnach

There are no real accomplishments apart from relationship:  Ann Voskamp 

“I don’t want to know about trafficking, but I do know about it and as a Christian, I feel like I have to respond to that” :  The New Christian Abolition Movement

Stare up at the sky and let yourself be:  Making the Most of Creative Time

Paul is going to LOVE these:  Frosted Cookie Cups

Life giving Words:  Why I Tell My Girls They are Beautiful Often…