December 30, 2013

...And a Happy New Year

I went to Grandma's grave today.  Those words are still bitter on my tongue.  Seeing her name carved in the silvery granite like that sent a shiver through my spine, though the sub-zero temperature outside didn't help things either.  The phrase "carved in stone" came to mind, and I was once again struck by the definitive finality of this.  That she's gone.  That she's not here anymore. And she's not coming back.


I wrote those few sentences almost a month ago when I was home visiting my parents.  My mom and I had stopped by the cemetery while we were out running errands. It shook me so deeply, but when I tried to string words together in an effort to process it all, that was as far as I got.  

The depth and breadth of my grief has continued to take me by complete surprise.  I had known that I loved her deeply and I had known that she had a profound impact on my life.  What I did not anticipate was the incredibly profound impact she would have on my life in her death.  Grappling with the idea of death, losing someone I love, and the fact that - unless Jesus comes back very soon - I will have to continue to say goodbye to those that I love. This grappling rocked me to my very core.

This holiday season has been extremely difficult - being the first without her.  She is so much a part of my holiday memories, it is as though it didn't feel like the holidays without her there: without her beautiful voice calling to sing me "Happy Birthday," without singing carols with her around her piano, without her welcoming hugs and the lingering scent of her perfume, without that twinkle in her eye....

Today, December 30, she would have been 81.  Today, we will raise a glass of Chardonnay (with two ice cubes in it!) in her honor - remembering the incredible woman that she was and the multitude of ways that she so profoundly impacted my (and so many others') life.  Today, I am thankful.  Thankful for the 25+ years that I knew her, thankful that I see bits of her in me, thankful for the woman who brought so much love and music to our family.

As we enter 2014, the first year without her, I pray that our grief would grow to joy, knowing - with as much assurance as we can have here on this earth - that she is ringing in the New Year with greater joy than she has ever known.

Happy Birthday, Grandma!  We love you and miss you more than you could ever know.

October 26, 2013

It Gets Better

Yesterday after work, we caught a late lunch at a local fire oven pizza place in northwest Spokane. After lunch in an effort to soak up the stunning fall colors, Cole took me to the nearby state park - where he proposed nearly four years ago.

The air was crisp and the colors breathtaking as we walked up the path to the scenic overlook.  He held me close to stave off the chill - just like he did on that January day four years ago.  We stood there marveling at the view, the colors, and the journey we've been on these last four years.  He quoted the poem that he wrote for me for the proposal, we tried to find the exact location where he dropped to his knee, and we retraced and reminisced every step of that sweet, sweet day.  

We got back in the car to head home, and with every curve of the winding road back to the highway, I thought back to what it was like, driving those roads with a new title, fiancée, calling all of our family members, and just wondering aloud over and over again, "We're getting married.  We're getting married!" The details of that day are so ingrained in my memory, and I hope I never forget.

As we stood in that place where, almost four years ago, Cole asked me to be his wife, I could not help but to reflect on how much has changed since that day.  Standing there, with tears streaming down our faces in the icy January wind, we had no idea what lay ahead.  We couldn't anticipate the challenges, we couldn't fathom the joy.  We knew it wouldn't be easy, but - at that point - we didn't know just how much we didn't know.

I knew that I loved the feeling of his strong hand in mine; now, I know better the source of the strength and commitment behind that hand. I knew the thrill of the romance at being pursued by a wonderful, godly man; now, I know the thrill of the romance at being known, so totally known. I knew that he made me laugh; now, I know of the deep, deep joy of sharing my life with this man. I knew that he loved me then; now, I know better how he sacrifices daily for my good, often at great cost to his convenience. I knew that he loved God; now, I know the early mornings or late nights of long reading and quiet prayer and the deep-seeded yearning to discern and do His will. I knew that I couldn't wait to be his wife; now, I know that I wake nearly every morning and marvel at God's grace in giving me another day as Mrs. Cole Boboth.

I look back on that couple, standing at that overlook, giddy with excitement, and I can't help but laugh at how grown up we thought we were, at how we thought we loved each other, at how little we truly knew. I'm sure, years from now, I will look back on my 25 year old self and laugh for the very same reasons; but, this I know: marriage is harder than I ever thought it would be, marriage is infinitely sweeter than I ever thought it would be.  And, my friends, if these past four years are any indication, it only gets better.

October 17, 2013

The Latest

I've come to this space so many times in the last month, and I've turned right around and walked away.  I've started posts and ended posts and completely erased everything I've written.  I'm wrestling with this space, that is nothing new.  I've often wondered what to do here, how much to share, what to keep just for us.  And then, my grandmother died and a lot changed.  It seems like I see everything through a new filter, and there is a lot that seems far more trivial than it ever did.

Having shared bits and pieces of her here on this blog makes it suddenly feel like some sort of sacred space. As in, how can I come here and dance lightly with the silly things in life all while grappling with this deep, deep loss.  Such is the balancing act of grief, I suppose: recognizing the need to honor the memory and cherish the past, while growing and changing and moving forward.  

That said, I suppose it's about time for a trivial update.

Many days lately, I have felt left in the dust, scratching my head as to how it can even be possible that we're over halfway through October.  Riddle me that, my friend.  Wowza.  Where is this time and why has its marching cadence seemingly accelerated exponentially?!  We are now just under three weeks away from finishing Cole's rotation here in Spokane and heading to our next chapter in Denver, Colorado.  

This time in Spokane has been so sweet, but oh-so-fast!  Cole has been working 12 hour days, and God, in His outrageous provision and faithfulness, has blessed me with a full-time job as well.  With the days and weekends so jam-packed, it's no wonder the time has flown.  While we've been here, we have enjoyed reconnecting with old friends, exploring old stomping grounds, and a few weekend trips to central Washington to visit our niece and nephews.

One weekend, we were blessed with two nights at the Davenport Hotel.  It was a sweet, sweet time of reconnection with this amazing guy with whom I'm blessed to share my life.  We explored downtown Spokane like tourists and enjoyed every bit of this beautiful Spokane October we've had.

Last weekend was spent with Cole's family in central Washington: pumpkin patches, football games, and the most incredible niece and nephews we could ask for!  Every visit back there makes us that much more excited to be settled there in February.

With the remaining time we have left here, we're taking a quick trip to Oregon and one more trip back to Sunnyside before we leave for Colorado.  It's hard to believe how quickly the time has flown. It feels like we just stepped off the plane from Honolulu.  We're nearly halfway through this final year of Cole's schooling, and we could not be more thankful or in awe of God's provision through it all.

October 3, 2013

1000 GIFTS: 641-740

                                    **The 33rd, 34th, 35th, 36th, and 37th Installments of 1000 Gifts**

A timely text from a friend back home.
A glass of wine and a lingering conversation with my true love.
Time in the Word.
Kona Coffee.
Literary 2x4's to the face.
Free Shave Ice. Boom.
Reconnecting with old friends.
Becoming an aunt - again - x2.
Grace in the hardware store.
A reminder to trust.
Double rainbows. (All the time, here!)
Planning trips.
Modern medicine.
New friends and great conversation.
Date night in Waikiki.
The North Shore
Exploring our new home.
Kayaking with the wind at our backs.
Grilled chicken.
Planning for the future together.
Aloe Vera.
Generous landlords.
Pina Coladas by the pool.
51 years of life for my mama.
Scary diagnoses, and a family that rallies together.
A gracious boss.
Pregnancy announcements. (!!!)
Fresh pineapple
Fireworks seen from the backyard
A visit from family
Boogie boarding with my sister
Tiki torches
Beer and burgers for girls day out
Spending the 4th with family
Good late night conversation
Makakilo Baptist Church
A non-squeaky shopping cart
The opportunity to housesit
Mango salsa.
Learning to embrace the quiet.
Productive days-off.
Quiet time.
Three years as Cole's wife.
Free milkshakes.
Fresh tomatoes (!!!)
A great biography on the beach.
Experimenting in the kitchen (and having it turn out!)
A surprise day off with my man!
Reading through old journals and tracing God's faithfulness through our lives.
Breakfast with old coworkers!
A phone call from a former student of mine.
Peanut sauce and mangoes. Try it and thank me later.
An air-conditioned library
Grandma's safe surgery
Christmas in July
The Bonhoeffer Biography
A visit from an old friend
Comfortable silence
Finishing a book
Laughing with my husband
Hearing about my siblings' successes.
Sharp kitchen knives.
White subway tile.
The scent on his pillow.
A soul-cleansing cry.
Tortilla chips.
Tempura California Rolls.
Conference calls with family.
Hope in the heartache.
Difficult providence.
The comfort in being with family.
Reminiscing with cousins.
Grandpa's stories.
Their 60 year long love story.
Kelly Marie's scones.
A sister sleepover.
Coffee with my favorite 2-year-old.
Carpet shopping with my guy.
Elsie's laugh.
Lunch with an uncle and aunt.
Fresh mozzarella.
Remembering with laughter.
A night of 'just us.'
Wendy's with Kelly.
Lingering conversation with my in-laws. Hours after the food has been cleared away.
The hospitality of good friends.
A long walk and a great conversation.
McMenamin's tots.
Being back with our people.
Yakima Valley peaches.
Yakima Valley peaches: grilled and topped with goat cheese and honey. Amen.
A girls' day with my mom.
Walking "The Hill" with my mom.

Looking back over these last 100 days, it is quite humbling to reflect on the highs, lows, and ever-present faithfulness of our God in the midst of it all.  It's been quite the summer.

August 28, 2013

When the Music Returns

Four weeks ago, my beautiful grandmother was promoted to Glory.  She shed the heavy things of this world and her faith finally became sight.  The heavenly chorus gained one heck of an alto; and Earth lost one incredible woman.  And, as C.S. Lewis said in the final book of the Chronicles of Narnia, The Last Battle, “The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.”  And what a sunrise she must be experiencing!

Three weeks ago, I cried as my grandfather, a tall, big, impressive retired Airforce Colonel, bid his last farewell to his life’s longest love as she was lowered into the ground.  This big, strong man never looked so small as he knelt beside her casket, laid a rose atop the polished, pale blue wood, and choked through his tears, “Goodbye, my love.  Thank you for loving me.”

Two weeks ago – and far sooner than I had thought – I sat on a piano bench for the first time in months. 

Everything about the piano reminds me of her.  When I walked into the house she shared with my grandfather for over 30 years for the first time since her death, I walked up to her beautiful grand piano and wept.  I lightly touched the keys and remembered song after song that she would play for us - once seated upon her lap, then seated by her side as we played duets, then seated by ourselves as she stood behind, beaming with pride.  I remembered the times that she would let us play her piano, but only after insisting that we wash our hands.  I remembered her taking the effort to turn off all other sounds – radio, tv, etc. – when we played her piano so she could hear every note.  And I remembered, whenever we’d hit a wrong note, she’d hum the correct note repeatedly until we found it.

I remembered all of the after-dinner sing-alongs around that piano.  I remembered her silly look of aggravation when her aging hands couldn’t find the notes as easily as they used to.  I remembered every Christmas gathered around that beautiful instrument as she played and we all sang, “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” and I cried to think of this year’s December 25 without her - and all the other ones to follow.  The memories flooded back with the tears as I barely touched those ivories and I wondered how life would ever be the same again and I knew it wouldn’t.

I knew, after seeing her piano sitting empty in their living room, that it would be a very long time before I could play again. She supported our every musical endeavor – attending every recital, buying music books that we would actually enjoy practicing, and even listening to my original compositions laced with teenaged angst – and calling it beautiful.  To me, the piano means her.  So, when I found myself at my in-laws’ house in the week following her funeral, I walked straight passed the beautiful piano in their office without even blinking.  For the first three days of our stay, I walked passed it.  Then, on Thursday, I sat at the bench; fifteen minutes later, I rose – not having played a single note.  Then, on Friday, August 16 – two weeks after the woman from whom I inherited my alto voice joined the alto section of the Heavenly chorus – I played the piano again.

Through my shaky hands and my tear-blurred vision, I plunked out the hymn, “It Is Well.”  There seemed no better song.  After all, this had been my anthem since the day I heard about her cancer diagnosis.  Verse after verse, I played.  After that, “The Entertainer,” a song that will forever remind me of her. Then, hymn after hymn, I realized an hour had passed and that I’d played the piano again.  And then I cried all over again.

I cannot sit before those keys without thinking of her, and I hope it is always that way.  I figured it would be months before I could play again.  But, music was so important to her; and, because of that, music is so very important to me.  What better way to honor her than to keep playing, to keep sharing the gift that she so selflessly shared with me (and SO many others).  Undoubtedly, my eyes will brim with tears each time I wed fingers to keys and play; but, it does not matter, for she loved music, I love music, and I am speechlessly proud to follow – even though hardly half as good – in her petite (yet very impressive) footsteps.

I miss her more than words can say.

August 7, 2013

In My Valley

There have been times in my life when prayer has not come easily.  For one reason or another I am occasionally rendered uncharacteristically speechless, whether I cannot put words to the pain or joy in my heart, or I am simply so confused that I do not know where to start.  It is in those times that I lean heavily on Scripture.  Praying through Psalms or other passages has often been a source of comfort and peace. Other times, I have been incredibly encouraged through the prayers of other saints.  

These last few weeks have seemingly stripped my prayers of any content.  So many days, struggling to put one foot in front of the other, I fall before the throne of Grace with no words, just tears.  My prayers sounded more like, "Please, please, please..." than anything else. I read and reread Romans 8, hoping desperately that the Spirit would intercede and make sense of my senselessness.  And then, I came across this prayer (from Valley of Vision) that echoed so deeply in my heart:
"Lord, in the daytime, stars can be seen from the deepest wells, and the deeper the well, the brighter the stars shine.  Let me find your light in my darkness, your life in my death, your joy in my sorrow, your grace in my sin, your riches in my poverty, your glory in my valley."   -Valley of Vision

This is it.  This is my prayer.  This is my prayer for me.  This is my prayer for my husband. This is my prayer for my family.  All of it.  May He shine more brightly in my brokenness, may I seek His glory in my valley.

August 3, 2013

At a Loss

Grief is a funny thing.  (Funny as in strange, odd, or ironic – not comical.) It never seems to look the same and often jumps in at the oddest times, commandeering all attention.  It can look like hours of unending tears punctuated by moments of shocked silence.  Grief can look like you go about your business day in and day out as if nothing has changed, then break down and cry while folding laundry. Grief can look like losing a record amount of hair in a small amount of time. Grief can look like writing a blog post in the middle of the night that you really don't need to read, but I really needed to write.

My grandma died yesterday.

I can barely type those words.  I will write more, I need to write more, but I do not have the right words right now to do justice to the incredible woman that she was.  After two weeks in the hospital, she was finally healed – just not on this earth.  I am so very grateful to know that she is at peace and no longer in pain, but this whole losing-someone-you-love thing?  It is really lousy.

I have often haughtily observed how blessed I have been to have experienced so little loss in my life.  As a 25-year-old, I was often alone in my peer group for having all four grandparents still alive.  My siblings and I would marvel at our good luck and the blessing that comes with having a wonderful relationship with all of our grandparents – a luxury our parents and most of our friends were not afforded.  But this is the hard part.  We loved her, we knew her, she knew us, she loved us - she was not some distant grandparent who only visited on holidays and only talked with the adults.  She came to basketball games and piano recitals and took us out to lunch every year for our birthday - and now she is gone.

We are leaving Hawai’i two weeks earlier than we planned to get home for the funeral and to be with family.  Even though our time here has been wonderful, I had long been looking forward to heading home.  Then, today, it hit me.  As I folded my tears in with Cole’s dress shirts, in our (likely over the 50lb weight limit) suitcases, I realized that home was the last place I wanted to be.

Don’t get me wrong… for the last two weeks that my grandmother had been in the hospital, I would have given anything to be home – holding her hand, talking to her, and surrounded by family.  Yet now, as I crammed the last of our unworn sweatshirts into the carry-on, Spokane was the last place I wanted to be.  And I couldn’t figure out why.  I knew it was not because I was sad to leave Hawai’i and the beaches and the sun… And I knew that I was longing to get home and hug my mom and family, but I could not pinpoint what it was.

Sometimes, grief looks like cleaning out your shower drain more in the last two days than in the last two months altogether.  Sometimes grief looks like crying through the memories so your husband hears the story about how she often forgot the peas in the microwave.  And, sometimes, grief looks like sitting on the bathroom floor writing at 1am because your sleepless mind will not stop.  My sleepless mind put the pieces together and realized why I was so reluctant to leave.  I realized that I just don’t want to know what home is like without her.  I have been okay in Hawai’i because it is as though, at times, I can deny the reality that she is gone because she was not supposed to be here, Hawaii, in the first place.  I could go to Portland and not feel ripped apart.   San Francisco, Sunnyside, Seattle… anywhere other than Spokane.  She is supposed to be in Spokane.  She is supposed to be standing at the top of the stairs of their split-level waiting for my hug.  She is supposed to step out of the car when Grandpa comes over for dinner.  She is supposed to ask for an ice cube for her glass of chardonnay.  She is supposed to teach my kids the spaghetti song.  I want to be with my family, but I know that once we’re all together, I will have to face the reality that she is actually gone.

I know I need to be thankful that I have had twenty-five years of memories with this one astounding lady, and I am. I am so very blessed to be her granddaughter.  And I am grateful beyond words to know that she is finally Home and at rest.  Selfishly though, I miss her like crazy and I know Spokane will never be the same.

"Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words."   -  1 Thess. 4:13-18

July 23, 2013


This is a long post, and it is a boring post, and it is all about my job.  And, if reading the ruminations of a sentimental fool isn't your jam, stop now.  Otherwise, read on.

I keep this blog for a number of reasons. The primary two reasons are to keep family up to date on the super thrilling goings-on of the Boboth family and to keep a running record for ourselves of our lives and God’s faithfulness therein.  It’s always interesting reading through old posts and tracing God’s hand in all of it.

I recently realized that the days surrounding our Oregon departure were such a whirlwind that I never had time to jot down what those last few days of work were like.  So many sweet memories were made and I would hate to forget any of it.

One week before my last day of work, my coworkers threw the sweetest going away luncheon for me – complete with incredible food, heartfelt memories, toasts, gifts, and a very special dessert. To say I was overwhelmed would be an understatement. I felt so blessed to have been a part of that community for the last three years and began to feel the “bitter” in my imminent bittersweet departure.  After three years in the proverbial trenches with these people, I suddenly realized how much I would miss them. 

 The final week of work was a surreal one. Tying up loose ends, saying last goodbyes, going to a lot of “we’ve-been-meaning-to-do-this” lunch dates…  And my last day of work could not have been more perfect.  We had one final ‘going-away’ lunch with most of the staff, and –for one reason or another- most of my coworkers left at different times throughout the day, giving me an opportunity to say goodbye to each one individually.  At 4pm, one coworker called all those remaining into his office for a special toast.  We sat around for an hour laughing, telling stories, and toasting to our next exciting season.  As I looked around the room, my breath caught in my throat thinking that I was about to leave this team, this somewhat dysfunctional family, that I had grown to love.

As the day came to a close, I said my last goodbyes, hugged each person extra tight, and retreated to my car and cried – partially because I was going to miss these people, but also recognizing the end of a very significant chapter in my life.  It felt like turning in my keys that Friday finished the last sentence in that chapter of my life.  You know that feeling when you’re reading a book and you look forward to the satisfaction of its completion; yet, once you have finished the book, you feel a loss somehow, almost a “now what?” feeling?  Yeah, that is what it felt like.  And, because I am super awesome at not being overly sentimental, I cried.

Three weeks and one transoceanic move later found me employed – again – by the same university. Yes, you read that right.  In a stroke of God’s incredible provision and faithfulness (and a little bit of extra work on my boss’ part), I had a job waiting for me in Hawai’i.  For the last two months, I have been working at a satellite office playing a tiny role in helping the staff get the office up and running.  It has been great.  And, in a large way, it has kept some homesickness at bay because I have still been somewhat connected to my former job and some of my coworkers. 

Well, all this to say, today I turned in my keys again.  If my last key-turning-in was the end of that chapter, this has completed the epilogue. The impact that this institution has had on my life is inestimable.  Even with all the stress, late nights, long business trips, and frustration over the last three years, the personal and professional growth and the lifelong friendships have made it more than worth it.  I could not be more thankful to the people with whom I’ve been so honored to work for their patience, faith in me, and good humor – I’ve learned so very much from them.  But even more, I sit here astounded at and incredibly grateful for God’s outrageous provision for us through this job.   From Oregon to Hawai’i, He has provided again and again and then some.

I do not know why I can never seem to remember that - time after time - God is faithful. He is faithful! And, even if things do not turn out as I had hoped, I can be confident that He is always, at all times and in all ways, at work for His glory and my eternal good.  I still cannot quite believe that this season has ended - I think I'm in denial, yet so thankful for these three years. I am excited to see what the next seasons and chapters of our lives hold - and I am anxious to document His Grace in it all.

July 18, 2013

1000 Gifts: 541-640

**The 28th, 29th, 30th, 31st, and 32nd Installments of 1000 Gifts**

Pitted Kalamata Olives
Parchment paper
Easy company
Pizza stone
Hard truths, driven home
Goat cheese in my scrambled eggs
A productive night of work
A full weekend
Talking about adoption with my man.
Scheduling a visit with my parents!
Dreaming about baby names (for someday)
Dinner with Laura & Dave
Tulips on the table
Little hints of spring
Marshmallow Peeps
Morning fog in the valley
A sunny Thursday!
Waking up next to this wonderful man
Dinner plans with friends
Daylight Savings and an extra hour of sunlight
Event planning.
Cable's out - more time to actually get things done.
Google hangouts
Hulu plus
Surprise visits from family
3 hour Starbucks dates
The smell of a newborn, hours old
Cole's incredible discipline and focus
Fresh pasta
Frozen yogurt dates
Ladies Night.
Kelly Anne Schlect.
Friends in ministry
Homemade pasta.
Lingering conversation.
Afternoons off.
Inside jokes with Cole.
72 degree days in March. (!!!)
A weekend getaway to Astoria.
A patient husband who stops for good coffee when the hotel coffee is gross.
Free movies
A beachfront dinner at sunset. You just can't make this stuff up.
Conflicts that get resolved quickly.
The grace extended by my God and my husband.
Free moving boxes.
Excedrin Migraine
Fresh cookies
A free Vanilla Latte on a day when I'm dragging
Lunch with coworkers
A full tank of gas.
Going home for the weekend!
Instagram. There, I said it.
Dinner with good friends.
Niece giggles.
Hide and Seek with littles.
Stain remover.
Friendly strangers at the airport.
A text from my Daddy.
Homemade bread.
A visit with my brother.
People-watching at the airport.
Free stuff, yo.
The Bay Bridge lit up at night.
A baseball game with Brian.
Garlic Fries.
An encouraging email.
Thoughtful friends.
A breakfast with the Beattys.
A moving party
Good packing tape
Our GTBC Church Family - because of God's work through them, we are forever changed.
Hard goodbyes.
Beth Carper.
Colorado relatives
Books. Amen.
Time with the niece
Movies in the middle of the afternoon.
Whiffle ball in the backyard.
Uncle Andy's margaritas.
A phone call with Brian.
Generous neighbors.
A returned deposit (and a super sweet letter from our old landlords)
A completed to-do list.
An incompleted to-do list - a reminder that my worth is not in what I accomplish.
Watching younger cousins turn into pretty darn awesome adults.
Seeing my baby sister graduate college - such grace and such Grace.
An unexpected bump to firstclass for a 6 hour flight.
And, complimentary POG mimosas. Yes.
Being reunited with my guy. Missed him.
Dinner overlooking the marina.
Strawberries en flambe.
Waikiki with my in-laws.
A fresh Hawaiian Lei.
A patient and gracious attending doc.
A picnic at sunset.
Access to a barbeque!!
Familiar worship songs keeping homesickness at bay.

Just Us

We will also remind you that this is just a BLOG…just the highlights. We don’t sit around happily smiling for pictures all day long. Our life is far from perfect: we are imperfect people serving a perfect God. We do strive to glorify God, but we fail miserably and find comfort in knowing that our debts have been paid and we have been set free.

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