Mother’s Day cometh! Always on the lookout for unique Mother’s Day treats, I thought I’d share a really exceptional gift idea with you. My good friend, Linda Hasley, and her twin sister, Lisa Dunlap, have combined their talents to create a masterpiece celebrating the incredible beauty of motherhood—and parenthood—in their book, “Sacred.”

Linda is an accomplished poet, and her sister Lisa, a talented photographer. Together, Linda’s heartfelt poems, and Lisa’s artistic photographs of pregnant women and newly formed families, eloquently reflect the awesome depth and range of emotions that surround the miracle of new life. As the authors describe on the inside cover of their book, their intent “is to capture the sacredness of the soul along with the rawness of what it means to be human.” A goal which they achieve brilliantly.

You will smile and be touched deeply as you move through the pages of this beautiful book. For a truly memorable Mother’s Day gift, for moms-to-be or moms of any age, I highly recommend purchasing a copy of “Sacred.”
Click on the photograph of the book cover or go to to purchase a copy.


So last weekend, the doorbell rang. I answered it to find myself looking up into the smiling face of a 6'2" gentlemen wearing basketball shorts and a T-shirt.
“Hello Mrs. Bowne,” he replied in a deep, resonating voice, “I was wondering if Josh could come out and play?”
I blinked. “JORDAN?!”
I stepped down onto the porch, which put my 5-ft.-tall self at an even greater height disadvantage as I looked up into his smiling face. This was my neighbor’s 13-year-old grandson. Thirteen! I’m tellin’ ya’, this whole puberty thing is freaking me out!

My daughter is now 16, and I do recall noticing surprising changes in her and her friends, as they moved through middle school. It seemed like over one summer vacation those two-dimensional little girl bodies formed 3-D curves and bumps.

But somehow, the pubescent changes seem even more dramatic amongst the boys. I look at my own son, with his cherubic, hair-free face and body, his normal boy voice. Then I look at his friends and soccer teammates. They vary so incredibly. Some are just like him, and some seem to have transformed overnight.

They suddenly have hair on their legs. They address me in deep man voices (I never even recall experiencing one squeaky voice-cracking day), and some of them even need a shave! I think back with bitter sweetness to Joshua’s toddler days. His tiny, baby-chipmunk voice demanding I watch as he raced his new Match Box car down the hallway. Or squealing for me to push him higher on the swing.

I remember at that time, parents of older children telling me to appreciate those times because they would go by just like that! Yeah right, I thought—it took every minute of five years to get through the first five years of their lives. But it does seem like, once they get into school, the time passes more quickly. Maybe because you only get to see them on nights, weekends and vacations.

Aside from certain moments, overall I’ve enjoyed each phase of my children’s development. It’s such a cool experience! I get to watch as their personalities develop, their confidence grows. I get to listen as they form opinions on politics, society and religion. I get to witness the emergence of their individual gifts and talents.

Sure there are occasions when I wouldn’t mind trading teenage troubles for the dilemma of getting them to share a toy, or take a nap. But honestly, I wouldn’t really give up these times.

My children are each an amazing work of art--forming and reshaping right before my very eyes. And I’m blessed to even help mold them a little as they form. Like freshly emerged butterflies from a chrysalis, their colors are so fresh and vivid right now-- as they slowly test their wings, and ultimately learn to fly.

Rainy Days

It’s so great to see sunshine today! Last week, on one of those rainy, cold days, I had to run a bunch of errands. By the time I was finished, I was soaking wet, my hair was a frizzy mass, and my feet were cold. Rainy days, with their dark, cloud-covered skies make me feel low—like I just want to crawl back into bed and throw the covers over my head.

My sister-in-law dislikes these kinds of days so much she used to shut all the curtains in the house, and turn on every single light. Letting the blaze of 60-watt bulbs take the place of the sunshine she missed so much.

She lives in Florida now.

A couple of years ago, we were blessed to take a family vacation to Hawaii. We left on a frigid day in February, arriving to sunshine and perfect temperatures. It was amazingly beautiful. I snapped picture after picture trying to capture the beauty of all that scenery.

I couldn’t help but wonder if the Hawaiian people fully appreciated the splendor that surrounded them every day. As they inched through crowded traffic jams on their ways to and from work, did they notice the roadside waterfalls and arresting views that made our jaws drop?

Native Hawaiians may acknowledge the beauty of their islands, but I believe they cannot truly value it the way a person who has experienced the cold, wet, gray days of a Michigan winter can. I think we appreciate that warmth and beauty all the more because of what we have to compare it to.

As much as rainy days wear on us, however, we really do need them. Without them the lovely buds and blooms of spring would never appear. In some ways, rainy days are like the rainy days that occur in our lives. We may not always like them, but just as the plants of the Earth, we can use those rainy days to help us grow--spiritually.

Sometimes it’s the annoying drizzle of worry, or the constant dripping of fear. At other times, it may be a serious illness or even death, when the rain is falling so hard, it feels as if we are drowning from the sheer force of it.

These are the times we need to ask God to hold us close and share his umbrella.

Rainy days remind us that although life isn’t always beautiful and sunny and perfect, we need that rain to help us grow and fully appreciate the sunshine when it finally comes.

So, if you’re wallowing in gray, cold, dripping rain right now, remember one thing: It will not last. Someday soon the clouds will part and the sunshine will beam down, warming you with its sweet embrace.

Letting go's

My 16-year-old passed the driver’s education written test with flying colors. And she could accurately describe every step of the upcoming driving portion of the exam with colored diagrams and everything.

But I took it as a bad sign when she ran over the garbage cans backing out of the driveway on the way to that road test. And an even worse sign when, during the test, she missed two, big yield signs and we almost became the road-kill victims of an 18-wheeler that flew by us on the entrance ramp to the highway.

I was freaked out. If she had been alone, she could have been killed! Even though she ultimately passed the road test, I thought to myself… she’s not ready.

I reasoned that even after 18 months of driving practice in all sorts of road and lighting conditions, that she still needed even more practice with a parent beside her. She needed to practice driving in unfamiliar areas, practice driving while relying on a map, practice what to do when she gets lost—practice, practice, practice.

But when would it be enough practice? Would it ever be enough?

Raising your children is really a series of “letting go’s.” When they’re young, you control everything: when and what they eat, bedtime, who their friends are, what they wear, what television programs they watch--everything.

But as they grow, the series of “letting go’s” begins.

The first time we let them ride the school bus. The first time we drop them off for a play date. The first time we let them go to the movies with their friends. The first time we let them get behind the wheel of a car with us, and finally without us. It’s scary.

But hopefully, along the road to raising them, we arm them with enough knowledge and confidence and problem-solving skills, that they ultimately don’t smash the car, or themselves.

Whenever our kids moan and groan over an assigned chore, my hubby and I remind them it’s not our job to be their maid, cook and personal assistant. It’s our job to raise them to be independent, self-sufficient adults.

And we do this through our “letting go’s.”

So after all this, since my daughter has passed the requisite tests, do I take her to get that license? Um, I will…eventually. But I can’t help it. We’re going to practice just a little more, before I finally do this next big “letting go.”

Did/do you have trouble with any of your “letting go’s”?