February 6, 2013 10:56 PM

Can't find the words to say...

My heart has been like an open wound since last night....not just for me and my family and our sphere of relationships, but burdened for all those grieving the world over..  Though in reality my own grief has become in many ways more raw and real...there is so much loss beyond my own. So many families dealing with disease, life changing events, children suffering and dying....and so many that don't have Our Father in Heaven to comfort them.

Most of you know that when Barbara and I married, we did not know God, even though He knew us. We were searching in all the wrong places as you've heard,(those stories are in the archives.) Our first four years were without a real foundation except for the ideals of two dysfunctional misfits that were trying to make a marriage and family work. Consequently... to say they were stormy is an understatement...thunderbolts were flying constantly.  Our best intentions didn't amount to much especially on my side. Barbara knew what she wanted and was very clear about it. About the only thing I had on my side of the table was a stubbornness that didn't allow for divorce for the sake of the children.  Truth to tell....and unbeknownst to me, she was going to divorce me anyway.  Being we were in California and it's divorce laws, she could have done it except God intervened and arrested us both.  What I am trying share is the importance of having God at the  center of not just our marriages, but all our relationships....at least from our side of the street. "Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain." In our case, He had to tear down and rebuild.

Today I started to go through all of the letters, cards, and correspondence from me over the years that Barbara had kept at the side of our bed.  It has been something I've been very reluctant to do and couldn't get past the first thing I picked up, which happened to be four years into our life together. Here it is below. I share it with you so you can see how Our Father changes our hearts...the smudge is from her tears that were falling then...as mine were falling today...and continuing tonight. Our God can do great things through our lives when our hearts are turned toward Him.

Anniversary poem 1.jpg

Anniversary poem 2.jpg

God changed history in both our family and in each of us as His individual children...and He can continue to do it in yours if you will  put your trust in Him. You won't be exempt from pain and life's suffering, but you will have the comfort of His love for you and yours.  I leave you with an old song that has taken on meaning from a new perspective of loss and knowing that one I loved  is at Peace with her Father even as I struggle and miss her in our lives. I'm sorry if this is too personal for some of you, please forgive me....but I know this is what she would be doing if it had been me that had gone on..Love and Truth extend beyond the grave.... She finished and crossed her finish line with "Kudos" and a "job well done" from her "Real" Father....we still have a few miles to go together....Let's finish the Race by helping and encouraging each other as she tried to do for those she knew, and in truth... all of Us....

In His grip and asking Our Father to continue the blooming of His roses for her namesake,

Papa Tripp


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Dear Papa Tripp,

No need for apologies. Again, we are overwhelmed with your beautiful, raw honesty and that you would share that with us....

Also, what a poet you are! Hope you will share some more of your treasures, in time. What struck me with your piece was the depth of understanding in your relationship with God that was displayed through your writing, even as a fairly new Christian at that time. Wow! You can tell that when God got a hold of you, He was not letting go, nor were you.

Thank you so much, Tripp for sharing, again!

Blessings to, and prayers for you, today.

Debbie K.

Posted by: Debbie Kierstead | February 7, 2013 9:04 AM

Papa Tripp -
You (and your whole family)are in my prayers daily. For some reason this reminded me greatly of the part of A Severe Mercy in which Sheldon Vanauken went through all his written memories of his "Davy" one by one. For him it proved painful but healing. I pray that it will be the same for you.

Posted by: Salome Ellen | February 7, 2013 9:32 AM

Beautiful story of redeemed lives.

Posted by: Debbie | February 7, 2013 10:24 AM

This was so touching and such a precious way to start the morning. I still find myself wondering what Barbara would say about this or wishing I could ask for her advice about that. Her website is such a blessing to so many moms like me. Thank you for continuing to share. Please know that I am praying daily for you and for your sweet family.

Posted by: Shannon Miller | February 7, 2013 10:24 AM

So, so beautiful. Thank you for sharing this. You and Barbara shared an unbelievable and utterly inspiring life on earth.

Posted by: Denise | February 7, 2013 1:10 PM


Thinking of you all and saying a prayer of thanks for Barbara. I purchased Lord, Meet Me in the Laundry Room shortly after her death... I just didn't want to stop gleaning motherly wisdom from her. What a surprise to find that YOU would continue to share with us on the blog. I love to see new "Mommy Life" posts show up in my RSS reader. I know it's not Barbara anymore, but when I read your words I remember hers. Thanks for sharing with us as you live life without her. God bless you.

Posted by: Angela Faust | February 7, 2013 4:35 PM

What I love is that you and Barbara have a love story that defies death and extends into forever with Christ. God is surely the God of the Living, and you both are beautifully alive in HIM. How it will be sweet for me to one day meet you both together in Him. Heaven is real. We will be there, because of His blood covering, His great faithfulness, the surrendering of ourselves to Him, and His unfathomable LOVE.

Posted by: Linda | February 7, 2013 11:09 PM

Tripp, this is sweet and beautiful. I am so sorry for your pain; but then, you know that we can never fully live a life absent of pain. I tell my children that we don't invite pain, that pain builds character and you are a witness to that.

I really enjoy the things that you are sharing with us about your and Barbara's earlier years together. What a witness and testimony this is to God's work in two willing lives!

This must be somewhat healing for you--these walks down "memory lane".

Thank you for being willing to share with us--those who love Barbara dearly, for for being transparent about who you were and who you have become. God did an amazing, healing work in your marriage and your sharing of it is a testimony to others.

much love & blessings to you and the family.....

Posted by: von | February 8, 2013 11:49 AM

"Love and Truth extend beyond the grave.... She finished and crossed her finish line with "Kudos" and a "job well done" from her "Real" Father....we still have a few miles to go together....Let's finish the Race by helping and encouraging each other as she tried to do for those she knew, and in truth... all of Us...."

This is beautiful...

Thank you... God bless you

Posted by: Lisa | February 8, 2013 6:01 PM

What you are telling us is so important, especially for young married couples to know and understand: Marriage is ever-changing, like the tides. Sometimes it's easy, sometimes it's hard. Sometimes you're deeply in love, sometimes you can barely be civil to each other. But you never, never, never give up and get a divorce. For within a year, you could be deeply in love again. Marriage is so much better when you've hung on through good times and bad.

Thanks for sharing your life with us.

Posted by: Marie | February 9, 2013 4:44 PM

A beautiful poem! A personal and appropriate lesson! As I mentioned before, my political views are very different from yours and Barbara's, but what we have in common is that I am a believer, and my faith has sustained me. Your testimony is powerful. Thank you.

Posted by: LMA | February 11, 2013 11:24 AM

Thank you so much for sharing such a beautiful poem, your thoughts, your feelings. Like Marie said above, you truly do show a young couple how to do marriage. With faith, love, trust and hope. God bless you today as we all celebrate our loved ones either with us or gone from us.

Posted by: Dirtdartwife | February 14, 2013 11:31 AM

Papa Tripp,
Praying for you today. I imagine the loss of your beloved Barbara will be especially felt today. May God bless you!

Posted by: Sara | February 14, 2013 12:45 PM

Papa Tripp:

Ditto to Sara above. You are especially in our thoughts today; praying for you.

Debbie K.

Posted by: Debbie Kierstead | February 14, 2013 1:59 PM


I am so sorry to hear of the passing of Barbara. The love I saw of you two and your family when you lived in San Anselmo seemed an unbreakable love. This was the start of Mr. Trees, the ban of cable in your home, Joshua was little and there were few other littles running through the house. And yet, despite the distractions what I saw from a 6th grade's eyes was two people who genuinely liked each other. It was just love; you two really seemed to enjoy each other's company. You both set a beautiful example for all those who were privileged to witness.

I send you and your family love (please give an extra dose to Jasmine from her old Brookside friend),


Posted by: Brooklynn K | May 18, 2013 10:14 PM

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