Friday, November 4, 2011

"Knock, Knock." "Who's There?" [conviction - that's who!]

As I pulled out my cosmetic bag from the cabinet in my bathroom, I heard a tiny knocking at the door [which I had very intentionally shut only moments before].

"Yes...who is it?" I questioned, slightly irritated.

I knew it was a long shot, but I had desperately wanted to isolate myself for a few minutes and get ready for the day ahead without noise, without interruption, without being pawed at and climbed upon, without anyone in my arms [or hanging on my pants, determined not to let go until they had been lifted up to my hip]. I achieved my goal for about .9 seconds.

"It's me." The tiny voice on the other side of the door caught me off guard. This was my youngest. A sweet and vocal 18-month-old girl. I had expected an older voice from one of my other children to respond.

"Me who?" I asked, trying to buy myself another fraction of a second.


"How are you, me?"


"What do you need?"

"Ummm..." [Insert the most adorable little baby girl babble - that I am absolutely certain had a very specific meaning, but was unable to adequately decipher - here.] " Mom."

"You want to come in???"

"Mm-Hmm." She said it very quickly and matter-of-factly. Yes. I had understood her precious babble correctly. I'm out here, you're in there...I want to be in there too.

I couldn't help but to smile, and meet her at the door. I opened it and there she was, beaming up at me. I am her Mama. The poor darling doesn't even know any better than to adore me. If she had known that I had shut the door in an attempt to hide from her and her siblings, she had already forgiven me, and was delighted to sit and watch me for a few moments.

Of course, that didn't last long and she wanted to play with my make-up and brush her hair and empty any drawer she could reach.

But how could I resist her sweet knock at the door, or her enthusiastic, untranslatable plea to be included in the excitement in the bathroom that morning? I simply could not.


Yesterday I held both the girls in my arms late in the evening, well past bedtime.

Those short hours after the kids fall asleep are my sanctuary. Once the constant demand for attention comes to a halt, I can begin to filter through my thoughts a little. I am able to accomplish the tasks that have been set aside all day. Who knew spending an hour washing dishes could be something to look forward to, huh? *sigh*

My little ones were not cooperating with my plan, however. Although one child had successfully fallen asleep, the other two were squirming on my lap. Sleepy, yet determined to be too hot, too cold, not comfy, a little scared...or the latest complaint, and one of my personal favorites..."kind of ticklish" and entirely unable to rest, I finally gave up and pulled them on my lap.

We all sat together, rocking and chatting and snuggling. Then came the wiggling and the stretching. My youngest was pulling at my shirt and petting my face, my older daughter squirmed and pushed her legs out, then back in...then out. She was rubbing my hand with her tiny fingers - over and over and over. I closed my eyes and assured myself that they would fall asleep any moment. "Take a breath. Let them snuggle." my inner mother coached. I love my girls, but there is only so much touching one can endure. It was now eleven. Way, way past acceptable bedtime delay tactic hours.

Finally, I could take it no longer. I turned to my older daughter. "You have to stop touching me." I said. She rubbed my cheek affectionately. I snapped. "Stop it! Stop it! You cannot touch me anymore!!" She stared blankly at me, my guess is that she was entirely unsure what to think of my reaction.

"Sweetheart, I love you. I love to snuggle with you, but I just need a little space."

I kissed her and she hopped off to bed. I tucked her in AGAIN [note the subtle tension] and eeked out the courage to hug and kiss her once more before I returned to hopefully successfully lull my baby to sleep.

As I sat there begrudgingly holding my little girl, I felt awful. "I am such a horrible mother," I thought. [You mothers understand the sort of criticisms we internally throw around.] As I wrestled through the self-inflicted blows, I came to the conclusion that in the end, I would rather be loved to the point of claustrophobia than to be untouched and lonely. I began to pray for others who might be desperately needing to be near someone else, and I stopped being so consumed with how I felt or what I wanted, I began to pull my nearly sleeping baby closer. I was no longer holding her because I had to, I held her because she has been given to me to love.

Some days, I vaguely remember what it was like to wake up and have no concerns beside preparing myself for the day ahead of me. I miss it. I yearn to shower uninterrupted. I would love to sit down at the table with a cup of tea and slice of toast and just think - just be quiet for a little while. My reality is constant voices, constant needs, continuous questions, conflicts, correction and, of course, cuteness too.

Some days, I want to be alone. I think I need to get away and have some space. As much as I adore those tiny fingers, I dread the thought of them touching me one more time.

These are the memories I need to remind myself of. I must not get caught up in life and in my self and forget what wonderful treasures I have growing older every minute that I hold them in my arms. I cannot neglect the very important work of loving them. I must not forget to invite them in when they knock on the door, or to pull them onto my lap when they cannot sleep because they are "too ticklish". Perhaps I will just need to tickle them before bed and leave the bathroom door open.

Even though I love them more than I could ever put into words, I often fail.

I have so much more to learn about loving.
I am so thankful I get to learn with them.
I am thankful for little knocks on the door that interrupt me.
I am thankful for loving arms that squeeze me until I can't stand it anymore.
What lovely gifts I have been given.

Monday, October 31, 2011


I love to listen to the laughter of my children mingled with light conversation between my husband and our parents. In our family, most gatherings are incomplete without a spontaneous outburst of song...tonight was no exception.

As I stood in the next room washing dishes from our feast of a dinner, the feeling of gratitude warmed my soul.

I am so thankful for these moments.

It is a joy to experience life together with these people. Tonight we shared dinner with our children and both sets of parents; nine of us sat together around our table in the living room. Together we held hands and thanked the Lord for His oldest daughter prayed as we all agreed with her.

It was lavish and simplistic all at the same time.

We popped popcorn and played dress-up and several rounds of Apples to Apples. We sipped coffee and shared conversations. We laughed. Tonight, we lived. We interacted with the people we have been given to love - and it was beautiful. I can think of no other place here on earth that I would rather be tonight than right where I am. I do not take these moments for granted.

I am thankful for each day I get to hold these sweet darlings in my arms; for each day they will still climb up on my lap and snuggle into my neck and want to be close. I am thankful for the love, support, example and relationship our parents share with us. I am thankful for my husband, my friend.

I am thankful for the blessing of being able to provide for the needs of our family. I am thankful for a warm home to host such gatherings.

What made tonight so lovely was not the entertainment or good food - although we had plenty of both. What made tonight lovely was them; their presence. What a beautiful gift I have been given.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Graphic. Powerful. Thought-provoking...and a little uncomfortable.
Worth 30 minutes of your day to consider what he has to say...

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Puffy Paint and Fanny Packs

As she casually spoke, her words jostled my gut. Whoa…back up. Am I hearing this correctly? With minimal prodding I realize something is awry. Her answers are evasive.

Why do we ignore the glaring truth in front of us and blaze forward into unholy places? Oh, we cover it up nicely. We justify it with spiritual words that sound intelligent and religious. But, my friends, much of our religion is empty – so desperately empty. I shudder and I am ill at the thought of our own hopeless depravity.

How can I focus on the task at hand? My penmanship fails me and I toss another poorly addressed envelope aside. My mind is racing and searching for some justification I can accept. Finally I turn to my husband. “Tell me I should not be upset.” He pauses.

“I can’t,” he finally replies. I groan.

And left to wrestle with these familiar emotions, I return to this single thought: that the shame of it all is the reproach we bring upon His Name. O all the ugliness and greed that charm our minds to consider what we should never give regard: it causes men and women to loathe the very One we verbally stand for, and our lives so dimly reflect.

I see this very thing in me: a struggle between what is right and what is palatable; a tug-of-war I consistently lose. Let’s just stop disguising it and call greed what it is. Let’s give our selfishness the title it has certainly earned for all the many ways it is able to succeed. But let’s not dress it up and be-dazzle it with justifications. It’s like adding puffy paint to a fanny pack. Justification is entirely unhelpful – our motives are still ugly.

Yet, He came to love us, sinners that we are. Lord, impart this grace into my heart; to love those who make my soul feel sick with grief and anger. Do I not fear your holy love for those I let my heart disdain? I must realize that these dark places would be far more familiar to me were it not for You, who save me from my own self. Perhaps some are, and I simply do not recognize where I am.

Learn to love, I must. The practice of forgiveness and grace is so unnatural - but entirely necessary.

The line between recognition and judgment is often erased in the name of love. When I see the church frequent shadowy corners it burdens my spirit in so many ways. I am convinced it breaks His heart to witness. I am not speaking condemnation when I state the obvious wrong, but I invite His displeasure when my heart breathes furious mutterings against those He deeply loves. Like a mother, aching as she listens to her children bicker and bite and cheerfully tattle on one another - such a draining and mournful experience. I imagine it is a taste of His emotion as He sees our proud looks and hears our arrogant thoughts. We are no better. We are terminal with the same disease - this sickness we are fascinated by, called sin.

O the great shame of it all is the sorry mockery we make of Him for the entire world to see. He is not bound by our own representation, however. He proves Himself by His own creation, by His Word and by His Spirit. I fix my eyes on Him and there too, I place my hope. While men and systems will disappoint and fail, He is able to work all things for our good and for His glory. I stand amazed.

My heart beat slows to a steadier longer so passionately fueled with emotion. And I pick my pen up once more and determine this moment to love. A moment away I will need to strengthen my resolve again, but for this moment grace wins in me.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


[I posted this over at my education blog...and think it is fitting here too, so I'm re-posting.]

Life is a blur as of late...

Spring has sprung and everyone is restless, longing to drink in the sunshine. My kids grow bigger; and along with their increase in size comes an increase in appetites, a wider disaster radius post-playtime and continued development of independent thinking - consequently: more frequent arguments both with each other and myself. My husband has been diligently studying, excelling in all his classes; I am so proud!

L., my youngest, has started walking and is quickly graduating from that mundane skill to more exciting techniques for mobility...such as climbing. [Really, who wants to walk when you could just climb stuff, right?]

A few days ago I caught her sitting in the middle of the living room talking to herself, "No. Nooo. No. No Ma. No Mom. No. Mom. No no. Noooo." She was practicing telling me no. My heart was filled with delight at her sweet voice, pride for her working so intently to enunciate her words correctly...and slight trepidation as I considered the implications of her resolve to clearly communicate her defiance.

My oldest daughter is learning important and difficult lessons about the ugliness of lies. Meanwhile, her father and I are being tested in matters of patience and grace. She is also rapidly learning to read and write. She enjoys writing letters and often I find random letters on her schoolwork or art pages. Occasionally, her random letters happen to form words, much to her older brother's astonishment and delight. He is very impressed by her "skill" and they celebrate her accomplishment together with cheering, laughter and expressions of recognition: "Great job!" " wrote ________!" "You are such a great speller!" This warms my spirit. I love to see my children loving and encouraging one another.

I am considering what to do for my son's education in the fall. Boarding school has been an attractive thought from time to time. New, unpleasant and frustrating phrases have been surfacing during our conversations lately; "It's not FAIR!" "I wish I had a different mom!" "Why do I have to...?!" I really dislike the attitude I see him developing and find myself praying often for an extra measure of love and grace to respond to it. While this new "big kid" personality dampens my excitement about home-educating in the coming school year, it also deepens my resolve to guide him, to instruct him, teach and correct him so that issues of character, discipline and integrity may be swiftly addressed and corrected, deterring poor attitude from developing into bad habits and unpleasant personality in later years.

I am just taking it all in. At moments, reminding myself to pause to breathe or to resist the temptation to react. Other times, digging deep to find motivation to tackle the dishes and laundry, or to mom-up and confront the arguing coming from the kids' room [instead of hiding in the pantry with a bar of chocolate pretending not to hear it]. Occasionally, ignoring those tasks that seem so pressing and important, but will still be there tomorrow and just holding my baby a little longer while she sleeps, or sitting on the floor playing dolls, or pulling out a messy art project to do TOGETHER or attacking my children with kisses and tickles while they still enjoy it - I know it will not last forever.

This season is full of unique joys and difficulties...and so will be the next. This is a sweet sort of whirlwind to be caught up in.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Big Brother / Little Sister

The kids are sitting next to each other on the couch, watching a movie...

Big Brother: "Hahaha...that's funny!" [to his sister] "That's funny, isn't it?!"

Little Sister: "Haha! Yeah...that's so funny!"

About 30 seconds pass by...

Little Sister, "Um...why is it funny?"

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

An Ode to Your Face

[image source: Sprocketbox on Etsy]

This is just a little sumthin' I thought up this honor of my handsome husband.
Here's to you, babe!
I call it: An Ode to Your Face


I'd never want to bash
Your wearing of that stache
That is set upon your lips
...and tickles when we kiss
You know I'd love you anyway
But hope that handsome stache will stay
'Cause all the cool kids want mustaches
All the girls bat their eyelashes
Of all the ways men wear face hair
Your stache is best
The end.
[I swear.]

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Elephants and Dark Clouds

I may be a bad blogger.

Maybe that's okay.

"They" say a good blogger must blog consistently and often [as in...every day]. Even if it means just posting a quick little thought...a picture...just something. That's not really my style though. There are several contributing factors.

I guess I kinda stand by the philosophy that unless you have something worthwhile to talk about, it's better to not. [Not talk, that is, or in this instance, not write.] I don't like to talk just for the sake of talking, ya know? Well...there's that...and also my counter piled high with a seemingly endless mountain of dishes, my overflowing laundry baskets and constantly supervising my adorable, yet often naughty children; all of which keeps me well occupied for most of the day [and a good portion of the night too].

Actually I have sat down to write several times and ended up deleting what little I had managed to type. I've realized that while my words were honest...I could not yet be as honest as I'd like to be. And while the topic on my heart is significant...God is still teaching me, mending what has been torn and cutting away what is useless.

I'm not a fan of "nice weather" conversations. You know...those awkward surface comments people make when it is obvious that much bigger issues are lingering in the room like dark, heavy clouds. At the same time, I'm far too analytical to simply blurt out my thoughts.

I tend to think, rethink and over-think a conversation, considering as many possible outcomes as I can imagine before it ever begins. Then during and especially after, I often go over each word and concept in my mind, analyzing the tone, the context, facial expressions and body language. It would be a far more logical ritual if I had studied any related sciences...but I haven't. It's all guesswork, really. It is a horribly obnoxious tendency, but also generally useful in many situations...say, this one, for example. It helps me keep my mouth shut more often than I imagine I would otherwise.

All this to say: my heart is heavy. I want to write about it...and I'm pretty sure I will sometime...but not until I am able to sort through it all in my own mind just a bit more, to somehow make sense of the jumbled heap of experiences, emotions and endless questions that infiltrate my thoughts on the matter.

Right now my pondering on the issues is just looming gray clouds threatening to burst. I need something a little more rain...or better even: hail. Something one can grab onto, something that I can observe. I'd like to see an outcome, an define a point or purpose. For now, I live observing this thick storm cloud, standing beneath it...and wondering what it will inevitably produce.


Please excuse me if I don't bother to write much about the sunshine and warmer temperatures while I wrestle with my thoughts awhile. I am wary of dancing around elephants. But now that I've acknowledged its presence, I think I can carry on as usual, or close to.

And with that thought…

Today we played with kittens.

My kids were giddy with delight.

[Except for L., my baby...she wasn't overly impressed with the clawing, crying creatures, and she certainly had no intention of touching one. I can't really blame her though; they did seem a little ferocious.]

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

One Lovely Year

A year ago today, the bright warm sun was streaming into my room and filling the shadows with a glow full of life and excitement. I can still see the smiling, kind face of my midwife as she assured me that I was close to greeting my little girl. The presence of light in the room filled me with a new determination, a burst of energy and strength I did not realize I possessed. With a final push and painful, yet triumphant cry, she slipped into this world and into my longing arms and the day began.

My heart aches a little for that moment to return...for that indescribable feeling to linger just a bit longer. There is nothing in all the world like staring into the eyes of your newborn baby, their insanely tiny fingers wrapped lightly around your own, and soft, damp skin pressed against your chest. I have never in my life experienced such tremendous pain, or exhilarating joy.

What an incredible way to begin a day! Even after being up all night, wavering back and forth between great  anticipation of what was inevitable and overwhelming fear that I could not survive it...all I wanted to do that day was stare at her, and kiss her, and feel her velvety cheeks. I hated to nod off into a slumber and miss a single second of her miraculous presence beside me. I was so deeply in love with this bitty creature I had only just met. How could I possibly love her with this intensity? How could I possibly not?

We took her home hours later...still slightly intoxicated with bliss. The days and loooong nights following would prove to be challenging at the least. I felt entirely unprepared to care for a newborn along with my 2 and 4 year old children. My heart raced and my mind panicked at the very thought of my husband's return to work. But despite the fears and inadequacies I struggled with, this sweet year has been so very lovely. And this surprise baby we had not anticipated or desired has filled our lives with a richness and beauty that cannot be reproduced any other way. It is a fullness that money cannot buy and planning cannot manufacture. It is a gift.

I am ever so thankful that God, in all His wisdom, ignored the dreams in my own heart and gave me a gift I had not asked for and shamefully, I even mourned over a bit. I was so foolish to ever think that I did not want to be needed and loved by this sweet girl. I weep as I consider it. Thank you, Lord, for unseen circumstances and unplanned sharing a day full of sunshine and new life with the baby girl you have given to us. What a privilege and joy this year of living life together has been for our family!

Happy Birthday to my sweet darling, L.
What an amazing day it was!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Stranger Joy

What is this I see with my eyes?
The lonely, shadowed places men lie
And weep
Not concerned that others view it
This pain cannot be choked down
It must be heard
All too familiar are the gunshots and the cries
Listen close
A piercing blast and strong men agonize
In their eyes
I see fear met with determination
I see devastation
What's to loose?
Death could free them from the tragedy they live

And I grieve
With this perfect baby in my arms
And I weep to know a mother holds a lifeless child
And I pull her closer still and breathe a prayer
I wrestle with my thoughts then leave them there
Too great to bear
Too big to comprehend in my small heart

Standing in the kitchen
Staring down into the black sink
I am thankful that there's dishes to be washed
Images flash by in my mind
Of dark waves crashing, rushing by
And trailing grand destruction
This should be a dream
This should be a nightmare
But I have seen
And someone lives it
And my heart grieves
While children's laughter warms my heart
From the next room
And I cherish every tiny shriek
Knowing somewhere silence breaks his heart
And a father stares into an empty space
Too soon apart

Greater still a love that cannot be
Shaken by a quaking ground or raging sea
Silenced by the roar of men
Intimidated by a gun
No this love will never run
It holds us firm
And we cannot slip the grip of this grand grace
A peace that passes understanding
Hope that drives a weary soul to carry on
A truth that sets a firm foundation
So if the ground should shake
We will not fear
Though hate accuse
It won't prevail

I pull my baby close and say a prayer
God, meet them there
In the lonely, shadowed places I can't see
Cannot reach
Wipe away the tears the helpless weep
May Your love bring
A stranger joy

Friday, February 25, 2011

Boomer's Birthday

Our morning was full of excitement and festivities. Today we celebrated Boomer's birthday [see previous post].

My son was the first to wake up [as usual]...and he could hardly contain his enthusiasm when he found the small birthday display I had arranged the night before. He later recounted to me how he found it, what he looked at first,...what he thought might be inside the gifts...why he thought I had chosen each activity for them to play.  He had apparently spent a significant amount of time assessing and analyzing each detail...that kid makes me laugh.

He noticed that there was no cake out for Boomer, so he headed off to his play kitchen to "make a cake" for him. He gathered ingredients, stirred the batter and when he opened the oven to place his pretend cake inside to bake, he stumbled upon the real cake that I had already placed in the oven. I loved hearing him tell me this story! The expression on his face as he recalled his surprise and amazement when he found that I had already prepared a cake for Boomer was simply adorable.  And his fake cake did not go to waste either...he ended up baking it later to feed all of Boomer's stuffed animal guests [since they can't really eat cake anyways...and Boomer's cake was too small to share with everyone].  ;)

My son waited very patiently for everyone to wake up before he let Boomer open any presents or cards. Boomer was disappointed with one of his presents...he didn't think it looked like much fun. But my son reassured his puppy that it was actually much more fun than it appeared.

"Don't worry, Boomer its lots of fun, just wait, I'll show you later," he consoled the dog, and then continued opening up other gifts.

My kids completed all the birthday activities I had set out for them - along with their animals. They played several rounds of Turtle Picnic. My son won a couple times and Boomer won once.

Once the party came to an end my children did what I had dreaded would happen...they began to scheme together which of their animals should have a birthday tomorrow.  O dear...see what I started?! I suggested that maybe next time THEY could plan the party.

It was really very fun to watch them, my son specifically. He truly enjoyed it and I was impressed at how much thought he put into each aspect. He thanked me more than once.

All in all, Boomer's party was a success...we all had fun and my son felt special. He liked that I had stayed up after he went to sleep and put together the surprise for him to find in the morning. [It's so fun to have a child who can communicate those thoughts...] But my most favorite part was definitely hearing his story about the cake!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Birthday Party for Boomer

Boomer is our puppy. Well, more specifically, my son's puppy. OK...even more specifically - he is a stuffed animal puppy. He's pretty cute, spotted brown with floppy ears; he's a typical toy dog and he has captivated my little guy's heart - well, as much as a stuffed puppy should.

My son has been telling me for the last several days that it is almost Boomer's birthday. To which I have smiled and nodded, "MmmHmmm...that's nice, darling..." then continued on with whatever task I was engaged in at that moment. I mean, really, how enthusiastic can one get over a pretend birthday for a pretend puppy?! 

But a couple hours ago it occurred to me that this was really meaningful to my son. He knows it is not REALLY Boomer's birthday, but he is having so much fun imagining all the excitement and anticipation of celebrating with his toy. Yet I had not yet stopped to really acknowledge his enthusiasm...let alone join him in it.

As we tucked our oldest kids into bed tonight, my son excitedly crawled under his covers and announced [for like the fifteenth time today...] that tomorrow was Boomer's birthday. Right as I could feel my internal eyes rolling in irritation over this repeated announcement and my inner self yawning with calloused uninterest in it, I felt the Lord urging me to care about Boomer's birthday.

Weird, huh?

I mean, aren't there bigger issues to pour out my thoughts and attention on?  The dinner dishes are yet to be washed, I have two laundry baskets full of clothes that need to be folded. Not to mention, big things [ my husband working long and hard toward landing a job in a new world news headlines of unrest and violence in the middle stories of realities men, women and children face each day in distant places - realities I cannot even begin to fully grasp - and asking hard questions, like "why"...these sorts of "big issues"] seem to demand my attention and thoughts. How can I possibly endure playing along with my five-year-old's puppy party, when I really have other things I need to take care of - things that are, uh...real. 

No sooner did these thoughts flutter through my heart and mind then HE gently put them to rest.

My participation was not about celebrating Boomer; it was about joining my son and enjoying the thing he enjoyed alongside him. Stepping down from the busy concerns of my adult world to give attention to something that was meaningful and important to him...and thereby expressing to him that he is important to me. I have been neglecting to respond to him the way he's been begging me to all day...with a reciprocated excitement about this event that he was so delighted by. 

So, after a moment or two of sulking in remorse over what a lame mom I am, God gave me the brilliant idea to throw Boomer a surprise party. 

I found a couple greeting cards and my husband and I both wrote little notes to Boomer inside one card.  We were intentional about directing our messages to Boomer, but indicating our love for our son through them. I included sentiments such as, "I'm so glad that _____ has such a wonderful puppy to play with!" - and so on. Then I found a puppy sticker and taped it to the card, so Boomer would be able to stick it to something.

The second card was from Boomer's best friends, a pink and white puppy named Buster and the newest member of the club, Jackson [he was a Christmas present].  Buster and Jackson left a message inside the card and beside their names, each one signed with a paw print. 

My MIL had a small packaged Hostess-type cake, which she gave to me for the occasion and I topped it with colorful sprinkles and a candle, placed it on a plate and then into the oven in my children's play kitchen. 

On our kitchen table I arranged a group of animals my children play with most, along with a note that says:

"SURPRISE!! Happy Birthday Boomer! All your friends came to celebrate with you!"

And beneath that another note that explains the other items on the table [more on those in a minute] and directs Boomer to look inside the play kitchen oven for another surprise [his cake].  Buster and Jackson are sitting off to the side, holding their card, which also contains a small gift inside. And in the center of the table are four helium balloons, leftover from a visit from my parents several weeks ago. [I tell you what, helium balloons are a BIG hit with kiddos...and these have lasted for weeks!]

Also on the table are various items; I selected several books to read [PB Bear's Birthday and a book about pets], a puzzle [a giant "Pets" floor puzzle by Melissa & Doug], a game [Turtle Picnic - love that game], a movie [Clifford's Best Friends], and a stack of birthday and party related coloring pages I tore from a coloring book [along with a box of crayons].  These are all activities my kids can do on their own [with the rest of the party guests, aka their stuffed animals] my son will be able to participate in throwing the party for Boomer too.

And guess what? I had fun doing it!  I enjoyed the divergence from those heavy and daunting concerns and tasks...which, by the way, will always be there - you can't just check them off a list, they don't ever really go away. I was giddy as I thought about how surprised and thrilled my son will be when he wakes up tomorrow and finds the surprise party for Boomer. And I was humbled to consider how often God stoops down to care about the insignificant things I get excited or anxious about. Sure, there are much bigger issues in the world for Him to give His attention to...but He takes time to acknowledge me.  He hears me when I pray. He cares about my son...and cared enough to cause me to pause and consider his imaginative play and his perspective. He asked me to take time to prepare a celebration and set up a party for a stuffed animal: because He wants my son to know he is loved. 

This humbles me greatly.

I so often overlook those opportunities that appear insignificant; and all the while valuable moments pass by and I invest in something less worthy.  O for eyes to see His view when I look at my children, and others around me.

Is there someone you need to pause a moment [and maybe even be a little bit silly] to love today?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


One of the perks of vacuuming is that my sweet little L. falls asleep in my arms almost every time. I'm not sure if it's the continuous monotone sound or the motion of me rocking back and forth as I move the machine across the floor...but I LOVE that I can accomplish cleaning and putting my sweet one to sleep all at the same time - woo hoo! Now I'm going to eat a cookie and finish the dishes!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Gloomy Days and Sunshine

I began a post yesterday...and finished it today. It's kind of a mess of thoughts, but maybe you'll find a gem of encouragement in there somewhere. ;)

It's dark and windy and cold outside - which is fitting.
It's kinda how I've felt inside this morning.

Ever have those mornings when you're just not convinced you really want to even get out of bed?

I woke this morning to my husband inviting me to work out with him. [Uh, thanks...but I'll sleep a little longer.] Then my daughter came in and asked me, "Mom, what should I be doing right now?" [By the way, this is a brilliant question for a three-year-old to ask her mother.] "Color me a picture." [That would keep her busy for a few minutes while I pry myself away from my bed and the warm snuggly baby cuddled up beside me.]

Oatmeal was the unanimous vote for breakfast, and as I leaned against the counter while stirring the bubbling goopy substance [still trying to fully wake myself], I stared deep into the goo...pondering the meaning of life. This is neither profound nor advised - [pondering life while mesmerized by goop].

The baby's monitor hummed beside me on the counter - a high pitched, awful sort of hum - and I realized, "I am in a bad mood".

As I prepared to place breakfast on our table, I opened up the blinds to reveal the dim and dreary light that seemed to slothfully and resentfully creep in through the glass.

Cut to today...
...a whole new day...a new perspective.

Three children crowded on top of us on our bed, bouncing and tickling and shoving and laughing. I handed my husband the baby, then took a few minutes to fix my hair, get dressed and put on a hint of makeup before I tackled the pile of dishes I had intentionally ignored last night, half-wishing they would disappear before morning. [They didn't.]

J. made eggs and toast, we brewed our teas and all sat together for our morning meal. Then, naturally, more dishes followed. *sigh*

My daughter and I sorted through her bin of clothes to grow into, and pulled out a few items which now fit her. My son and J. went to the garage to "organize". [I think that's what they call it when they want to tinker with their tools, but have no specific project in mind.] ;)

Baby started to cry, so here I am nursing her and blogging [Jessie calls it "multi-tasking". ;) ]

Yesterday, I was hoping my ending would present itself throughout the day...that I'd experience some epiphany that would break through my clouded heart. It did not...and I never finished my post.

What actually ended up happening was more subtle and slow and I didn't recognize it until this morning.

I began to consider the perspectives of others. I took the focus off of myself a bit and began to wonder, what does my son need right now, what does my daughter need? And not in my usual way, when I want to hurry up and make everyone happy so that I can finally do what I want to get done.

I decided to evaluate my own "do list" and realized that nothing on it was very important. What is important is honoring the God who created and who sustains me, and loving my husband and my children - and these weren't even on my mental list as a goal for my day. My mental list was full of "things" and tasks that could be accomplished; finished, completed and then checked off the list [only to be quickly replaced with a new and equally insignificant duty].

Seeking the Lord and loving my family cannot be "accomplished", it is ongoing and requires perseverance, endurance and continual dedication. Sometimes it's easy and comes naturally and joyfully - other times, love can only be fueled by determination and a desire to choose what is right over what is comfortable.

So, this morning as the kids clobbered all over us...and I wished I could remember what it is like to sleep in, and wake up to a peaceful quiet, I looked in their eyes and knew that they needed my love, my attention, my play. So, we played. I chose to enjoy their laughter, and chose to let go of my objectives and fill today with enjoying one another.

When I opened up the blinds today...sunshine danced into the room. How fitting!

I'm thankful that His mercies are new each day. I'm thankful for these three beautiful, noisy, busy children that He has given to us. I'm glad for gloomy days and sunshine...and learning how to love.