Goodbye, Beanies

We said goodbye to the Beans this weekend. I, for one, did not get enough sleep. Between the party at our house Friday night, the moving of Carlee, Caity and Lynda on Saturday, the worship service and send-off on Sunday, followed by the mandatory poker game at our house and a beautiful song by Lauren, I am beat. Really beat. But it was worth it. After all, I won the poker game. I won like a million chips. So in honor of my million chips, I am going to post a million pictures that sum up the weekend. There were some seriously cute babies around here and I had to include them all. The tears have threatened to escape many times this weekend. They’ve only made it out of my eyes a couple times though. I think I’ll try to hold them in a few more days until Wednesday when the flight across the ocean with the four kids and twelve suitcases arrives. After that, maybe I’ll sleep. May God richly bless you, my friends. I’m going to miss you.

Grace, Zach and Callie

Jack Taylor

Jami Johnson

Abby Kever

Seth Linebarger

My Favorite Dad

My Favorite Husband

My Favorite Mom, Kirsty and Me, singing Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy

Callie and Zoe

Abbie and Scott

Lauren, Mom, ERIN INMAN and Dad

My daughter who is almost as tall as me

Rocky, who made everyone cry when she talked

Abbie and Kirsty, while Rocky was talking

Zoe Bean

Annie Bean


Kirsty, Me, Carlee, my friends for twenty-one years now

Scott and Carlee

Zach Bean and a cookie

Chris, singing a song to Yahweh

Goodbye, Beans

Today I am a Cat

I walk around my quiet house.
My eyes are slit. If I don’t open them all the way, I won’t have to see reality.
I mope.
I wonder what it is I’m dwelling on.
I dwell, hoping to figure out whatever it is that I already know.
I walk past my daughter’s empty room.
The walls are pink, the bed is green. It’s made up, sort of. The comforter is crooked; pillows and animals are tossed haphazardly all around.
A patch of sun falls across the lower right corner, right by the window.
I am drawn to it.
I curl up in the sunny spot, not bothering to move any pillows or animals out of the way.
I flex and point my feet, I roll over, I stretch my arms over my head.
I bask.
The sun is warm.
The house is quiet.
I walk outside and the breeze blows wisps of hair across my eyes.
My eyes slit more so that I can take it in without shutting it out.
I drive to the girls’ school with the windows down and Little Big Town playing pleasantly.
If I wasn’t driving, I would lay my seat back and turn my head to the side so I could really feel the warmth of the sun’s heat.
And bask.
I park in the line of cars and wait.
I sit back and dwell some more.
A dad walks by with his arm around the shoulders of a little girl in a pink dress and black braids all over her head.
Grace comes running out with her pink vest and brown cowboy boots. She stands like her dad and smiles like her Uncle Robbie and has dimples like nobody.
Sadie walks slowly, talking quietly to a friend, backpack slung over one arm, in her cargo pants with a sweater tied around her waist, her ear poking through her straight, wispy hair.
Callie emerges last, like always, in a group of friends, taking time to count every stripe on Kelsey’s socks before eventually making her way over to the car.
We drive home, windows down.
I catch a glimpse of one daughter in the side mirror. Her chin rests on the door where the window is down, her nose and glasses just barely peeking out above her chin. The wind blows her hair and she smiles peacefully.
I think today she is a dog.


I just finished reading one of the most beautiful books I have ever read. Alas, it wasn’t Dostoevsky, but I am here to recommend it to you anyway: Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. A couple months ago, I was reading an interview with another author that I like quite a bit, Geraldine Brooks. She put this book on her top five list of the most important books she has read in her life. I have to agree with her. It has affected me greatly. It is not the easiest book I have ever read and yet its simplicity touched my heart. It is not a page-turner, by any means. I believe it is meant to be digested slowly, bits at a time. It is a fictional account of an old man on his deathbed, writing his thoughts down for his young son to read when he has grown into a man. There is no story, no dialogue, not the kind of book that normally captures my interest. But this one did. And I am so glad I finished it. It is filled with spiritual truth and struggles and love. It has made me think of my grandparents and the full lives that they have lived and how much I wish I could know them better.

I love this quote, near the end of the book: “There are a thousand thousand reasons to live this life, every one of them sufficient.”

Let me know if you’ve read it and what you thought of it.

Ten Years Ago

Ten years ago today, Sadie Jasper Linebarger came into this world. I awoke on Valentine’s Day, 1997 around five in the morning with a pretty serious contraction. After waiting for a couple more to come, just to make sure, I woke Chris up. Honey, we’re having a Valentine’s baby….

After two days of labor (51 hours to be exact), she came. Not exactly Valentine’s Day, but exactly on her due date. On the floor of our bedroom in the house in East Dallas that we still drive by every once in a while and say, “That’s where you were born, Sadie.” Carlee said her face looked like a scrunched up stone statue face as she was being born.
I had not had a sonogram during my pregnancy and the only thing I could yell after she was born was “What is it?” I remember a long, silent pause and then the midwife, very gently, “Daddy…. what is it?” Another pause and then Chris’ voice, kind of timid, “It’s a ……….girl?” Then the midwife affirming his educated guess, “Yes, it IS a girl!” (In his defense, it was a little hard to tell.) Then the most perfectly peaceful joy, filled with elated relief. The baby was here and she was a girl named Sadie. Callie had a sister to be her lifelong friend and we had another precious bundle of love in our family.

What a blessing to have ten years with another human being who is such an intimate part of me and yet so much her own distinct person. In many ways, she’s quite mysterious. It’s hard to tell what Sadie’s thinking most of the time. I don’t think Sadie even knows what Sadie’s thinking. Her answer to almost any question is “I don’t know” (more like “mm-m-mmm”) with a shrug of the shoulders. She’s got a great laugh and she loves babies and gives careful, detailed instructions to her little sister quite regularly. She’s got her own sense of style. When she was a baby, there was a time when we counted seven rolls of fat up one arm. Now she has to wear a belt to keep her pants up around her waist. Her eyes sparkle when she smiles. I found a note in her baby book that I wrote when she was fourteen months old that ends with “Jesus will never fail you. Run to Him. Cling to Him. Right now you are a clinger. You cling to my neck and hold on for dear life. You are a precious girl. I love you. Hold on to Jesus for dear life.”

Ten years. A lifetime. My prayer for her remains the same. Happy birthday, precious girl.


I’ve been thinking about the concept of home a lot lately. I recently came across an entry in our mission’s database under the Custer family’s information. My dad had typed very simply, “Jay went home December 15, 2003.” When Nathan died a few months ago, I wrote, “Goodbye, gentle brother. I’ll see you at home.” As a Christian I know that there is hope after death. It’s hope beyond what I even know to long for, I think. Jesus said he was going to prepare a place for us. And so I call it home. I’m not the only one either. I hear it said a lot. Which is why I’ve been thinking about it lately.

Home. The word itself makes me breathe a little easier. It makes me think of green walls and a fire and bookshelves filled with photo albums, candles, framed pictures, books lying every which way and in no particular order, soft lighting coming from the side (not from the ceiling), good food and lots of pillows. It’s a place of peace and of love. It’s a place of memories. It’s personal and tangible. But the truth is, when I call Heaven home, it makes me feel more anxious than comforted. I’ve never been there before. I’m intimidated by places I’ve never been. I don’t even know anyone who has been there who can tell me about it. Well, Jesus. I know Jesus. And I now know two people in particular who are there now and that, more than anything is what I look forward to: seeing them again. That and no more pain, no more hunger, no more tears, no more sorrow. Will I feel at home when I get there? Will I gaze upon my savior’s face with an even deeper love than I have for my husband? The more I think about home, the harder it is for me to understand. When Scott and Kirsty leave in a couple weeks, will they feel at home in England or will they long for the home they left behind? Or both? Or neither? I remember Lauren saying at Nathan’s funeral that at first she could only wish that he would come back. And then it hit her what an incredibly selfish wish that was. Come back here from THERE? She could never wish that on him. No, she would rather wish that she could be there too. Maybe if I understood home better, I could understand faith better.

I heard this song today by Mercy Me. The chorus goes like this:

“I close my eyes and I see your face
If home’s where my heart is then I’m out of place
Lord, won’t you give me strength to make it through somehow
I’ve never been more homesick than now”

I guess that’s how I’ve been feeling. Not like I have a death wish or anything. I’m not depressed and my life is fairly easy and lovely and happy right now. And yet, I feel homesick. For everyone, not just me.


It’s about time. Real chocolate, people. Not chocolate flavored cereal. Real chocolate. I just tried the Special K Chocolatey Delight. I’m going to try Life Next. Come on, Crispix, Bran Flakes, Shredded Wheat, Grape Nuts, heck, even good old fashioned oatmeal for that matter…..I promise you: If you add chocolate, I will buy it.