How the Light Peeks Through

IMG_2562I’m not even sure I know how to tell you how glad I am to be writing. I am at my own desk, in my own room, in my own house that has a driveway and a dishwasher and a laundry room. Glory. A while back, I thrifted a midcentury desk with one of my favorite peoples on the planet, and that’s where I’m sitting. Above it is a painting by another dear friend, and it makes me want to roar and weep and laugh, which is perfect. This is the writing room, the place I somehow remember strangest details. I don’t have any clue where I put my cell phone (no really, I can’t find it) but then can sit here and remember the exact smell of the dresser drawer in my great-grandmother’s guest bedroom. It’s where she kept the fancy white gloves. Let’s hang out some time, and maybe you can tell me what it’s like to be normal.

I’m on fire again, or rather, I feel God’s hand on the knob and the flame is starting blue. This time it has happened a different way. Before, He’s picked me up off the floor and said, “Let’s do this.” This time, He said, “Remember what I told you? I’m right here. Now get up and do it.” Obedience brought the fire. A near lifeless step of faith brought the wind.

Before I dive into all these things that make me tremble, I want to give a little glimpse into our world. Let me set the flowers in the scene, because there are so many sweet things. I’ve had dark days, but just look how the light peeks through.


We live 2 hours from Branson, MO where you can go to this awesome redneck theme park called Silver Dollar City, and I’m telling you that it is every kind of fun. Much to the dismay of my Common Mama Sense, I rode roller coasters with my little babies, and I was sure that we were all going to watch each other die, but then we didn’t. It was a blast.


My big boys have started a black-belt journey under some of the most amazing leaders. They are trained to live lives that honor and respect others. Here’s a pic of Ian blowing me kisses instead of listening.


We had been living out of boxes for weeks, not knowing when or if or where we were to move, and we were at the peak of terrible when I promised my oldest that we could go to the pet store because there was to be some awful reptile exhibit there. We already have a snake, and it has already grown ten times its little baby size, so that already gives me the highest points on the awesome-mom scale. Even still, I took him, and there were no special reptiles. Thank goodness.

The thing about that day is that it was the 2nd day of a round of steroids I had to take for some health things. Let me tell you. When I’m on prednisone, I am a freaking rock star. I conquer the world, and then I melt down on top of it. In other words, one minute I’m spectacular, and the next minute, I’m Kookoo for Cocoa Puffs.

That day at the pet store, I was walking the isles hiding from Isaac. Tears ran down my face because we were living in utmost chaos at home. But then, there in the back was a little table where some sweet old ladies had rescued three little dogs off some back country road. I am from the country, too, where we have always had yard dogs that like to chase chickens. Yard dogs are usually pure-muscled muts that like a neck scratch once in a while. When they holler at coyotes, you holler back and tell them to hush. It’s a simple, loving relationship, so therefore when it comes to sissy little yippy house dogs, I just never understood …

until I saw Lucy with my crazy prednisone eyes. She is a girl. I have four boys. She had a bow in her hair, and I liked the bow, but then they had put a yellow dress on her, and I was like awwww no you didn’t; somebody get that nasty dress off my dog. Then I spent $100 of my grocery money to get the job done, and that was that.

So here I am with my girlfriends, drinking a glass of wine and holding a frou frou dog that I COMPLETELY love. I think next I’ll monogram my minivan and only wear sweater sets. Who am I?


Seriously this summer, I just got so mixed up. I wasn’t sure how to act in public, but one night I made it to a going-away party for some dear friends, and we sent them off with blessing and poetry and stories and tears. I wish as a teenager I could have seen 18 years into the future at this beautiful night, all the hysterical real. How gaudily happy we were.


A few weeks after that, the Blase family came to town. John Blase is our brother. We’ve known it for a long time, just one of those things. He prayed us through the failure-to-thrive time. If you don’t know and love him, go to his blog now. When I imagined meeting John and his amazing wife Meredith, I really thought I would clobber him and then ugly cry or something completely dorky, but I didn’t. We ate barbecue, and my kids were awful, but it was cool.


We asked Ian to take our picture.


Then Titus turned two. He weighs what my other ones did when they turned one, but we aren’t worked up about it anymore. We had a pirate party, just the brothers, and he got a tricycle. They helped plan the decor and yelled surprise and handed him a sword when he walked into the kitchen. I made gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free cake, and you could have broken a tooth or played hockey with that thing. Just so you know, kids will eat anything if you put blue icing on it.


A few days after that, I was beginning to wake up, wrestling with guilt for missing out on so many good things that God had for me. I felt like a big rotten brat and asked for nothing for my birthday, especially after accidentally buying a bunch of dumb stuff from eBay. Anyway, Seth still took me to dinner, and my best friend showed up as a surprise. I think it was the best birthday of my entire life. I don’t even know how to explain.


Now Ian is in kindergarten. The three big ones started a new school, and despite a rough first day, they completely love it. They have amazing teachers and have all made friends. Now I get four more years with Titus, alone on little Lucy walks. I point to a truck and say its color. He repeats me all day long. Everything slowed down in a sudden.


We had signed contracts on two different gorgeous homes that ended up having issues, and it wasn’t wise for us to buy them. We sold the rock house and had nowhere to go. We lived with my best friend for nearly 2 weeks, and then we housesat for another dear friend during the other 6 weeks.

So much is temporary. This house we’re in now is a rental, and it is precious. It is small. The oven looks like a microwave, and the stovetop has buttons. I’m pretty sure I could never look at another box again.

If you’ve read this far, then you know more about me than most people who talk to me in real life. Let’s be friends on the facebooks.

Now tell me about the light peeking in on you, too.

About me


Wild in the Hollow Book Club: an Introductory video
August 28, 2015
How Right Living Was My Brokenness: a guest post from Kelly Smith
August 11, 2015
Marriage Letters: On Home
July 06, 2015
A Final Haines Home Companion: a Secret I’ve Kept
June 06, 2014
On Broken Parts in Regular Towns: Alabama, Arkansas, and Haiti
April 03, 2014
On Losing Place
September 05, 2013
A Haines Home Companion: A Little Eden
March 13, 2013
A Haines Home Companion: Alter
February 22, 2013
Back Around Again
February 13, 2013


Reply August 26, 2013

I have been reading your blog for a few months, and I love it!! Your writing is beautiful and your spirit is authentic, thank you. I have passed it on to many friends as well. This summer we too were "homeless" for 2 months. We have three kids, and we sold our home and then the purchase of our new home fell through bc of the Moore Tornado... so we had to start the process over and were without a home for 2 months. My husband's parents opened their home to us, and we enjoyed our time, but we are eversothankful for our new home because of the journey it took us to get here!! Keep it up. Please check out my blog if you have a second. :)

    Reply August 26, 2013

    Well, Heather, it sounds like you know how I feel, then! I can't explain how much I love this little house we're in, and I probably wouldn't even have given it another glance before our houses fell through.

Lori Harris
Reply August 26, 2013

Well, the light peeking in on me is potential buyers for the house across the street. Sounds small, but we've been praying for God to move someone into our neighborhood- someone who will join us in loving our place and our people and well, we also prayed that they would be African American.
And I think He may just have answered our prayers- on all fronts. Best part- he's the local pastor of a small African American church.
So, yeah- there's my light.
Glory be.

Reply August 26, 2013

I loved getting a glimpse into your heart and life. Thank you!

Shelly Miller
Reply August 26, 2013

I grew up going to Branson with my grandparents and I'm sure that place will land on the pages of my book, such good memories. Prednisone makes me feel like a rock star too. Like I can conquer the whole world with one hand by noon. I asked my doctor if he thought it was a bad sign that my heart was beating fast from excitement the last time he gave me a prescription. I'm okay now, really. I love that dog, I would've been crowned "best mom ever" if I would've brought that cutie home. And I've moved eight time in 23 years of marriage. I get never want to see a box again. I don't. Love your voice and this was just like sitting in your living room catching up. Thank you.

Jessica Y
Reply August 26, 2013

Now I'M cryin' cause I feel like we just caught up over coffee. Literally, crying.
Anyway, that top pic gave me full on goose bumps when I saw it. Just cause.
Love you.

Reply August 26, 2013

I don't even know you, but I've felt your absence here so keenly - so so happy you're back. Your words occupy their own special space in my life - your writing is beauty and peace and a faith in God that's near suffocating (but somehow in the most wonderful way) and such an encouragement in figuring out my own way in this short life. (I'm not just saying that to be nice - it's absolutely true - hope that's not too much pressure :P). Thank you.

Also, my first dog's name was Lucy - a little dachshund.

Reply August 26, 2013

Oh my heart. Oh your heart. I smiled and I laughed and I blinked back the wee happy tears that started leaking while reading this.
A pleasure having coffee with you this day Mrs Haines.

Reply August 26, 2013

Oh Amber, what a summer you had! So glad you're happy in your little house, and I completely understand about never wanting to see another box again - I hate moving too :) Your little Lucy is gorgeous... one of my friends (who is also the only female in a houseful of males) has just acquired a bichon frise puppy called Chloe. All the little girls, including my daughter, are swooning over this little white bundle of fluff, and all the men are making gruff noises about how completely useless she is as a farm dog. Lol!

Kelly @ Love Well
Reply August 26, 2013

How did I miss this when it was first posted?!? The picture of Ian blowing you a kiss when he should be bowing is priceless. Your dog makes me want to laugh and clap my hands. And I pretty much just want to come visit you and sit on your front porch and eat blue icing.

Diana Trautwein
Reply August 26, 2013

Ah, gee whiz, Amber. This is just the best post ever. It's funny, sweet, a little sad here and there and totally, totally REAL and relatable. And you got to meet the Blases? Too cool. And Titus is TWO? Impossible. Welcome back, friend. Welcome back.

emily wierenga
Reply August 26, 2013

oh, my sweet amber, how i've missed you. i've thought of you so often, and i'm so jealous you got to eat bbq with the blase family. i understand about the tears. i really do. and about not wanting to see another box. and i love that dear titus is doing so well... all of your boys are so handsome. did you ever get the chocolate i sent you? just know i'm here for you, all the way in canada, and we'd love to host you guys if you ever need a place to stay or just want to hang out in a dutch hamlet for awhile. love you. e.

Reply August 27, 2013

So glad to have you back again! Your writing both inspires and challenges me, urging me to push on, even when I do not see anything but brush ahead. As far as light peeking in, just let me share my Sunday praise report. When asked for them, I stated the quite obvious, yet have been over-whelmed by it: I thanked God that I was able to sit in church Sunday morning clothed in my right mind, with faith in the midst of trials that still says God is good! Now, to some that may not be much to praise about, but to me it is truly a miracle! The road I travel is full of pot holes and such, and I can find myself often in the dark, peering for even the faintest of life. My circumstances have not changed one iota and there is still so much brokenness in my life. Yet I have my right mind and God is still good and I have the eyes (all to His credit alone!) to see that! I am seeing the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living and all is well with my! Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to share this! God bless!

Elizabeth W. Marshall
Reply August 27, 2013

Amber, the light is so bright I need to put my rock star sunglasses on. There is so much freaking (how is that for a writerly word :( ) life in this post that it explodes, implodes and does a lava volcano meltie thingy all down the page. You know I could write a book on moving. And here I sit in my little rental house for a season too. Um where do start. There is a bust of a plastic Beethovan or is it Mozart on the piano and he stars at me when I write. And this place is precious with all the grandmotherly things on steroids everywhere. But we are so stinking happy. love you and this bright light season. Love that you spent the grocery money on Lucy. So do they make gluten free Beanie Weanies?

Elizabeth W. Marshall
Reply August 27, 2013

Sweet friend, there is so much light here, it is so very bright Im reaching for my rock star sunglasses. Really, I love the life pouring through you and from you, dripping on the page like hot lava from an exploding, imploding volcano. And seeing your smile, speechless. Which is a rare condition for me. I know the rental space season. Here I sit with a plastic Beethoven or Mozart bust on the piano staring at me when I write. I want pics of your writing space, your terribly happy place. So glad to see a rythm returning to your life and the life of your family. So much love. Your words deliver sweetness to my heart. And that that you spent your grocery money on her. Do they make gluten free Beanie Weenies??

Elizabeth W. Marshall
Reply August 27, 2013

One comment was too long, then you get three from me. Ah a feast or Cra Cra writing. Apologies extended.

Lynn Morrissey
Reply August 27, 2013

Amber, God has been with you in the silence, and the overtones of your beautiful words from posts past have continued to reverberate and echo in my soul. I love the music you share here on the blog. And now, God (who has continued to conduct your life in the pregnant pause) has give you the cue, and you have obeyed and come in right on time with your lilting voice, filled with mellifluousness and meaning. What you said about being on fire again, and about obedience being the catalyst to bring it about so resonated with me. I am praying for the Wind of His Spirit which ignited your flame to ignite mine. God bless you for sharing. And I smiled about Branson. I live in St. Louis, which is not all *that* far away, and my husband will not be caught dead in Branson. I think he thinks it's too commercial......hmmm.....but maybe not. Maybe I can persuade him to change his mind, but definitely *NOT* about Silver Dollar City! :-) Where is your little house now? What city?
I pray that the Lord God will continue to fan the flame of your passion, your joy, and your writing!
PS I was not famliar w/ John Blase, and so appreciate this introduction.

Reply August 27, 2013

It is so good to hear your voice again! Happy birthday...I had one too this August and tried really hard to enjoy every minute. The day was a success! Love this post, Amber, and catching up and getting settled in the temporary. I have family close to you and have heard about the awesome Silver Dollar City. Next visit we just may need to take the 2 hour drive and check it out ourselves. Enjoy the quiet of your days and your little one! love, Rachael

Reply August 27, 2013

you are a thing of beauty, friend. always love your words and the way you look at life.

    Reply July 24, 2015

    - These are excellent Terence! Dan and Eden look amanizg and in love. What more can you ask for? I love the location, the composition everything. Nicely done!April 17, 2010 7:44 am

Reply August 30, 2013

Thanks for not clobbering me.

Your boys acted like boys - we loved it.

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