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A Lettered Legacy



Things I Think About



Updated: 2018-03-05T10:45:42.662-05:00

 



On the First Day of 2016

2016-01-01T16:38:20.277-05:00

Last night, the last night of a full year, a year rich with adventure and joy, anger and sadness, busy and bored, easy and hard. The little boy worried, as six-year olds worry*, about growing bigger and older and what might come in a new year.

Mommy, I don't want it to change to a new year. What if I'm sad?

Oh, a new year holds all sorts of promise. The promise of good things happening and bad things. The promise of happy things and sad things. But most of all the promise of growing bigger and stronger and more into the person Jesus made you to be. 

But I don't want to grow bigger and stronger. I don't want to turn seven.

My heart screamed I don't want you to turn seven either! This mothering business is a rough one to be in. First they stretch your body to bursting. Then they spend years growing away from you stretching your heart till everything--happy and sad--runs tears. (Or maybe that's just me.)

My mouth said ('cause self-control is a fruit of the Spirit), Of course you don't want to turn seven, you're not ready to, yet. But as the time gets closer you will be ready and you will want to be bigger and stronger and seven. 

Today, we started our new year with cereal and a walk in the woods and up a sand-dune. We were going to take a picture, but the cold zapped the battery. We saw the lake, shivered in the wind, and slid on the ice covered sand. George ran and ran. I've already been happy and sad, aggravated and tired. We've had lunch. Abby finished her homework. George ate an eighth of a cup of coconut oil. Chris is working on a project. The kiddos are dressing up the pets.  I am writing. Later, we'll play a game and work on a puzzle and maybe make some 2016 goals. An excellent start to a full, abundant new year.

*A brief note on six year old worries...
When Abby was six and worrying, it took me a long time to realize that this was just growing pains, the kind of growing pains that make heads and hearts stretch and mothers worry that and wonder if they're messing up their children. Because I was all wrapped up in trying to figure out what I had done wrong, it took me a long time to figure out what to say. 'Cause the Holy Spirit will give me the words, if I'll get out of the way.
Needless to say, Simon's worries meet with a calmer, more prepared Mother, when I remember these seasons come and go. I sorta envy him on Abby's behalf.



Happy Fall! Otherwise Known as Halloween Pictures a Few Days Late

2015-11-05T08:00:06.766-05:00

 Miss Spider
Reepicheep





Satisfying Fullness

2015-05-11T10:47:01.473-04:00

In the past two weeks our life together has been fuller than normal. We've had colds and doctor's appointments, classes and dentist appointments, awful headaches and grandparent's visit complete with the tulip festival, tree limb removal and fuel pump fixing. We've gone on a field trip and a fun trip. We've had several games and practices.
Life has been full. Gloriously and delightfully full.
Now, we are tired. From staying up, from going out and learning, from being so very together for so very many hours, from keeping seriously wonky schedules.
I want to chastise myself for letting everything get so out of hand. I want to cast the blame somewhere for the fullness of our last days even as I see the coming emptiness of the next weeks. I want to carry the shame of having children who bicker in public where everyone can see them and of needing--needing--to be left very much alone. I want to believe I could have done something better, scheduled or said "no"or something. We should never be sooo busy rattles around in my head.

But we WANTED to do all those things. Maybe not the fuel pump, but all the other things were desires of our hearts fulfilled and a short time. I didn't want to say "no" to any of it, except the headaches.

We were coming home from a quick, truly quick, errand running mission this morning. The children were unhappy with each other and enumerating each offence in painful detail to one another while I didn't even attempt to listen. Because we are tired and full. While ignoring my children's complaining and wondering what I should have done, I noticed that the lawns were green and tall and most of the trees were in full leaf. When we left on Friday, I would have said that I saw more sky than canopy when I looked up, but today spring's green has taken over. It is wonderful.
And I realized that spring plodded for a while, but when the time came, spring came in a wild rush of activity. In one weekend the season changed. If spring isn't carrying a burden of shame and blame for bickering squirrels and slowing sap because when the opportunity to say yes happened all at the same time she took it with all her might. Why should I?

Our life was full these past couple of weeks, but it is the satisfying fullness of a whole lot fulfilled desires. I say so long second guesses. Thank you, Lord, for it all!



They Are Different

2014-09-26T14:35:11.084-04:00

We were in the car--the four of us. The car is Abigail's favorite place to ask deep, meaningful questions and Simon's favorite place to make noise to a captive audience.

Abigail: I wonder.
And before she could get out her wondering.
Simon:  I never wonder.

It is true. I don't think I can remember a time when he has wondered. Or a time she hasn't.






Our Stories and His Story

2014-09-22T07:35:46.495-04:00

I taught the middle school Sunday school class a few years ago. I love middle schoolers, once I remember that there is nothing I can do to make them like me. And once I've been there long enough for them to know that I like them anyway. I have a pet peeve, or two, about Sunday school that I attempt to rectify as a teacher.

The stories. The Bible is full of stories and so often they are sanitized and told and read in church voice. All the blood and guts, fear and elation, and adventure with the God of the universe who wants to live with us is read in monotone, "holy" voice. I sorta hate it, so when I teach we talk about the gore and the celebration in detail. It is why I teach middle school and not pre-school. (Though my little boy thrills at the blood and guts.)

And the thinking. Jesus taught with stories. His listeners were expected to hear not just the words and not just the story but the point of the story. They were supposed to wrestle with their hearts and their minds and their Lord to figure out why He told the story and what they were to learn about Him and themselves.
So, my Sunday school students quickly became aware of the fact that we weren't going to be newscasters in our study of Scripture and that we were going to study the Word. And they were going to go on the journey themselves.

It just goes to reason, then, that my children get the same treatment. We are going to wrestle in this family with our hearts and with our minds and with the Lord and prayerfully come out changed.

So when Abigail inserted her dilemma--feeling that God was neglecting her request--into our evening prolonging bedtime. I asked a question instead of shooing her away which was my desire, and bedtime was rescheduled. She struggles with being bossy. Indeed she, it would seem, wants to run the world. She has been bothered by this tendency even going so far as to ask her friends to help her by pointing out when she is being too bossy. She shared that she had asked God for self-control so she would not be too bossy, and He hadn't helped her.

My heart broke for her, but I felt a little nudge. Why is she being bossy?

Because if everyone doesn't know the rules, something terrible will happen. Because if everyone isn't getting along and playing together, something terrible will happen. Because the stress caused by conflict, even if she isn't directly involved, among her friends makes her miserable.

And a light shown in the darkness of our previous advice to her. Her bossiness isn't a self-control issue. Her bossiness comes from fear. And fear comes from dis-belief. She is afraid that her world will fall apart (and no one will catch her).

So we talk some more. She is allowed to stop trying to control the bossy and she is allowed to ask for more belief. Isn't that what the dad does when he is terrified that his son's life is slipping through his fingers, "Lord, help my unbelief."?  And she is can be sure that He is delighted to answer such a prayer. A prayer asking for more of HIM in her.

And we would never have gotten to the heart of the issue without listening to her story, nor would we have had an answer without listening to His stories.



The Farmer's Wife

2014-09-19T07:14:23.512-04:00

Dear Stuart, and Ralph,

I love you for what you are. I especially understand your disgust, Ralph, toward the misconceptions about mice. I am happy to live and let live. It is fine that you use our shed as a winter haven. I am even OK with your use of the small crawl-space. The larger crawl space is negotiable.

But, when you use our vacation as a time to frolic through my silverware drawer, mark the knife drawer as your own, and leave your dropping in my ice cream scoop, you have taken my hospitable, live-and-let-live attitude for granted. You have not just teetered on the very edge of the line. You have catapulted yourself over into territory that I will fight for.

Be warned, the farmer's wife has moved in. I will trap you. I will poison you. I will cut off your tails with a carving knife to reclaim the acceptable level of sanitary In my kitchen. You will be forced to retreat or die.

Sincerely,
Generally peacefully coexisting wife of a comedic engineer.

PS: To insure the continued existence of your genetic line and the return of the generally peacefully coexisting wife of a comedic engineer, pack your bags and return to the smallest crawlspace, the shed or the many holes in the yard.



Some of Our Summer

2014-09-09T12:38:55.811-04:00

In a collage.


We're finding our home and our rhythm. And it is good.



Yogurt Is A Semi-Solid

2014-08-13T09:29:38.353-04:00

Homemade,
Half-gallon, raw milk.
Store-brand container

Refrigerator. . .


Filling waffle holes
Son's favorite way
Reach in
Grab

Container deforms
Falls

Yogurt

Splashes
Slides
Runs

Dog spotted
Fridge fouled

Dog hates yogurt
(I am aggravated at dog for yogurt snobbery)

Yogurt is a semi-solid
It won't be sopped
It won't be picked
It is alive

Rummage in sink
Return yogurt to deforming container

Hot water runs
Half-gallon raw milk
Homemade yogurt into sewage system

Liquid left
Grout stream beds
Wipe, wipe, wipe

Raw whole-milk
Yogurt
Slime trails

Soap
Grout
Under fridge

Pull out
Mouse poop
Wipe
Turd on my finger
Good enough

Cold waffles
Peaches in pockets
No yogurt
Ever again?

P.S. Because mouse poop in my house is not normal, I feel the need to add the disclaimer that this house spent the winter-empty-on the market. Mice moved in and found behind the fridge a good place to live. The cats are working on the issue. Apparently they need help. The yogurt showed me the problem. It is after-all full of living things.



I Almost Said "No."

2014-06-17T07:03:01.256-04:00

It was a Saturday morning I was getting ready to go to the opening day of the St. Joseph Farmer's Market. I was hurrying everyone through a late breakfast slightly annoyed that it was late and that Abigail had not made breakfast (a self-declared responsibility). I was looking forward to a morning alone talking with farmers, hopefully, sneaking a peek of Bound for Freedom, and hitting Target for a baby shower gift. Alone as in by myself.

But she wanted to go, desperately wanted to go with me. Asking for a mommy-date, promising not to whine, not to pout, not to beg. Mostly because I didn't want to be a mean ol' mommy that early in the morning. I didn't say no.


I wanted to go alone, to think my own thoughts, to reacquaint myself with this little town on the edge of Lake Michigan.

Instead, I walked the streets of St. Joe with new eyes. With a hand in mine and all sorts of excitement beside me. With little peeks into the heart and mind of the little girl whose life is intertwined with mine. I saw delight when we found hot chocolate mix free from child labor worries. I heard oooohs and ahhhhs over every puppy, every baby and nearly every craft we passed. I shared smells and sights and conversation and the morning with that little hand in mine attached to a growing every taller body sheathed in a mismatch even I couldn't come up with carrying a heart, mind, and soul that leaves me achingly in love, and desperate for the proper thanks for the Giver.

Thankfully, I remembered my sunglasses. No one had to see the tears--deep gratitude--as I realized that what I had been dreaming of and praying for was coming true before my eyes and I almost said, "No."




Hi

2014-06-02T14:29:28.132-04:00

It has been nearly a year. I've been overwhelmed, and tired, and absent. I was praying for something to give. Some sort of space in the day that was mine. A house on the market. A job hunting husband in a job he hated with a two-hour/day commute. I was smothering.

We exhausted all the job possibilities in the area. No one wanted to buy our house. We were not at home in church.

Frustrated Chris mentioned seeing if Whirlpool (his employer during college and for a 5 year stint  previously) was hiring. I, scared to think that maybe this was the give (scared to hope that we could come back), looked. There were several possibilities.

The process was either achingly slow in order for us to say we truly did exhaust all the possibilities or so fast we couldn't keep up.

Something gave. And we are here in Southwest Michigan, tucked close to the lake in a little neighborhood with lots of children. We've been here a month, the children and I permanently, Chris slightly longer. The boxes are unpacked. Our house feeling like ours. We returned to the church we attended, or who attended us, when we were here before.

It is different than I imagined, this returning. My memories of here stop seven years ago, but life went on without us. People stayed and left and changed. We changed. It isn't as easy as I had imagined though I knew it wouldn't be. My heart wasn't convinced, I'm finding.

I went to a baby shower yesterday for a lady I didn't know till I got to the shower. It is how the ABF (Sunday school) operates, has always operated. I, telling our story led one to believe that coming here was a decision we had to convince ourselves of, resign ourselves to, but MI is always a good idea.

I prayed that something (I didn't know what or how. I didn't care.) would give. I can still see myself and feel myself begging for that, so desperately. This was the give. And I'm thankful for the gift.



Simon Says

2013-06-18T20:57:54.342-04:00

He's a suitor (Oh my).


There's a little girl in his Sunday school class. Let us call her G.They pal around together much of the time. He follows me around dropping little tidbits.

Me and G are going to get married, Grandma. Will you come to our wedding?

G calls me Sugar Puff. I don't know why she calls me Sugar Puff. I told her to stop. My name is Simon. It is on my nametag. Why can't she call me Simon? (Perhaps like you she can't read yet.) Oh, yeah. But I don't want her to call me Sugar Puff.

Me and G are going on a date when we are grown-ups. A real one. We have gone on a pretend date already. At the Lego table.

He's also a philosopher:

It's OK. Just don't watch and you won't have to worry. (Ready to do a flip from the arm of the couch into a pile of pillows on the floor.)



Early

2013-05-20T07:48:28.145-04:00

This morning he woke earlier than she did. He jumped from his bed and trudged through the house. He was looking for me, or her, or a show. He padded to the kitchen and skipped into my arms for a morning cuddle.

I carried him to the living room. He didn't say a word, for ten minutes he stretched and wiggled, but did not utter a word. I whispered words and questions; once, he shook his head.

Eventually he scampered across the room to pet the cat, gently with a big grin.

About that time, she woke. It was far more difficult to gauge her progress through the house; we could hear the doors open and close. She entered the living room with a big smile. And about the time her bottom found its place on my lap her thoughts and dreams and little games were being shared.

We chatted for several minutes as she wiggled and stretched. I didn't have many words--the same words I whispered to him, I spoke to her. She was pleased to share and to share and to share.

Finally they planned their morning TV. Netflix was activated, and I found my way back to the kitchen for a few more moments of quiet and planning.



Coming Up for Our Little Family

2013-04-12T08:27:10.534-04:00

Water from rocks
Feeding sparrows
Clothing flowers
"What is it?" from heaven

I am having surgery on Wednesday. I've exhausted all the other options, so it is time for womb-removal. My feelings are mixed. To be completely honestly, it is in the area of growing our family that I've experienced my most significant spiritual crises. So while I am absolutely ready to be free from the symptoms I've been having, I must admit to a few trust issues with the God who holds the span of my days in His hands.

To be clear, this isn't about the doctor; I really like him. This isn't about the surgery per say; it is a minimally invasive as possible while removing all the symptomatic parts. This isn't about the recovery; laproscopy is much more recovery-friendly than C-section.

This is about the heart-ache of four miscarriages and one still-birth. This is about hours spent trying to figure out what I did wrong. This is about comparing my living (and my mothering) with others and coming out ahead or behind in my own estimation. This is about not understanding higher ways and having trouble trusting that His higher ways will really work to display the wonders of who He is. And this is about wishing that displaying the wonders of His grace didn't have to hurt so very badly!

I covet your prayers for me--safety and recovery and faith--for my children who will be staying away for longer than they've done and for the little one who hasn't met the mommy who isn't able to pick him up, and for my husband who will worry even while claiming he is OK.



For Your Fourth Birthday

2013-04-10T09:14:41.213-04:00


Dear Simon,

You turned four on Saturday. We celebrated with a chicken cake and a dragon cake and a really wonderful day at Ohiopyle.

I have so many things to say to you, newly four.

The ways you make my heart sing. {those smiling eyes and face adjustments, and the cuddles and...}

The ways you are transforming my character. {that whiny voice, and those stunts (always looking back to be sure I saw)}

The ways you are the joy of your sister, and she your own joy. {the great big belly laughs}

The ways you are a necessary part of our little family. {capturing the full emotion of each moment}

But I can't always find the words for all those things, to really capture who you are-my little boy. Just know, Simon, that you are dearly loved and that I am so very, very glad we kept trying. You are so worth the wait.

Love,
Mommy












Thoughts Running Wild

2013-04-08T14:17:04.609-04:00

We came home from Ohiopyle Saturday afternoon. It was Simon's choice to go for a walk that took George along. We walked along the Yough on the Ferncliff side. The water was high and strong. Simon spent a good amount of time worrying over his dog for what black lab doesn't want to go for a swim. The water had been higher this spring and plenty of puddles remained, puddles for frog swimming and courting and singing.When we came home at the request of the birthday boy, just to come home not for resting. Chris worked on the chicken hutch. I dug out some pesky sumac bushes and dreamed of sunflowers and strawberries. Abigail and Simon (after he woke up) played--swinging, building, fort-ifying, practicing archery (thanks to this site). I remember thinking that I was really happy. Perhaps the coming of dear babies, the looming date of a necessary hysterectomy, and the coming of a due date empty of celebration had stolen the abiding feeling of happy. But that afternoon, and evening, I was really happy.Sunday, we visited friends who've just bought a farm, an old farm with all the old farm work, and collections, and beauty, and spring peepers. As the night wore on, I forgot all the happiness from the day before and revisited the odd-shaped uterus, miscarriages, and possibility of an (sub)urban backyard chicken fight. Spring peepers don't live here.Some of these things bring up good conversations about the values we are living and how they line up with the values we started with and want to be living. Some of these things bring questions and prayers and I can't say that is bad. But, some of these things bring envy and discontent and ill-humor, and that certainly isn't what we want to be living. So, I'm going to go read a book on our front porch, consider the placement of necessary spring-blooming bulbs and the paint color of our shed, and I'm going to diligently in the power of the Son, dwell on these things,whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good reputePhilippians 4:8  [...]



Not Fun Follow-Up

2013-04-05T13:24:50.993-04:00

The weather has turned, for a few days, to warm. Long nature walk warm.

We went on a walk and captured joy.









"This Is Not Fun" or Where I Believe Making Birdfeeders Will Be Fun But Find that Listening to the Story Is Better

2013-04-04T14:37:28.367-04:00

We're ending a term here. I am experimenting with a six week term schedule. We will school year around (cause really who doesn't learn anything in the summer), six weeks on, one week off with two longer breaks in the spring and fall as well as a Christmas break.Yesterday we finished up math with a test. Today we finished four books that have been lingering in the land of mostly known, but not quite.We're almost finished with the Burgess Bird Book for Children which is really the point of this post. It is a neat book and we've enjoyed reading and listening to it for the past two terms. The main character, Peter Cottontail learns about all the birds in his vicinity over a year. Oftentimes he is in conversation with a bird kind, but occasionally it is a discussion about a bird with another bird as in the hawk. We've drawn birds and identified birds and talked about birds.In the EndI wanted to do three bird activities--a bird feeder, a bird house and a bird bath--with Abigail and Simon. Life happens and so we are still waiting to do those things. Today though was the bird feeder day.Given a scoop of lard and a scoop of peanut butter to warm and mix they began while I tied stings to the pine cones. Simon was suspicious of any activity where his hands entered peanut butter, but he started. When I poured some seed into the mixture, Abigail kept mixing and talking and Simon froze.Simon keep mixing.I can't, holding his sticky, seedy hands splayedSimon, mix it. This is supposed to be fun.With just the right amount of matter-of-fact mixed with the smallest trace of whine, and while studying his hands, I have peanut butter and lard on my hands. This is not fun.Needless to say Abigail and I finished filling the cones while George licked Simon's hands clean enough to wash. She declared that while fun for a moment, this was not an activity that needs to be repeated.Peanut Butter on Their Hands Every Day, Please.By way of sharing information: We found the Burgess Bird Book for Children for free on this site in a variety of formats. We are missing the pictures on the Kindle, but I use the Peterson's Guide for our backyard identification anyway so we find the pictures in there. I also found an audio version here. It is also free. Oh how I love books in the public domain. Every so often we will have a less than ideal recording, but we enjoy listening together. And I am not so strapped to a chair.[...]



Acknowledge the Actual

2013-04-02T08:11:34.135-04:00

I was doing a good job of exercising for a while. I could say "No" to more food than I needed for a while. I was creating new habits that were helping me feel like a person outside of wife and mother. I was feeling pretty good.

I had a little book. I felt sorta guilty for buying this little book meant to encourage me to exercise and to make a record of forming the habit. I was keeping the journal. I was being faithful and I was feeling better about the number on the scale and the way my clothes fit.

Then I put the little book, half-finished, in a drawer. It was taunting me through a two-week coughing fit. I didn't pull it back out. All the progress I had made halted and started regressing. And all the encouragement that was leading to self-control and faithfulness was gone.

Today, I have exercise on my to-do list like I have for the past three weeks, or so. Hopefully I will get it crossed off. I've pulled the little book out because even if it is just to me, I need the accountability that comes from acknowledging what actually happens.





Thank you, Jesus

2013-04-01T08:24:35.250-04:00

So this was a crazy weekend.

We read the story of death, resurrection, and redemption on Friday when it hit me that we would spend both Saturday and Sunday embroiled in wonderful activity that would ultimately overshadow the story of our celebrations. Yeah, there is the part of me that would believe that we are bad Christians and bad Christian parents if we struggle to get the message on the right day, but, really, I'm exhausted by making life that difficult. And I'm exhausted with being exhausted by an easy yoke. Obviously, I've gotten something amiss in my faith, hunh? (Just so that you could get a glimpse of the breathlessness of the weekend and my exhaustion, I crafted the previous paragraph.)

Anyway, we celebrated both Easter and Simon's soon departure from year three with both sides of the family on two separate days. While squishing assisting with, or attending, a giant Easter party at church into Sunday morning.

As we were driving home last night, decompressing, we discussed that which we will do differently next year (no three year old understands pre-birthday parties, everyone gets the point of the celebrations confused.) But, for this year and these memories, I do not have a way to have done it differently. I'm going to walk slowly and gently through today-returning to our normal- with the memories, joys, and lessons of the weekend.

There just isn't a ton of time for regrets or the resulting sullen weariness of carrying them around.
This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it. 
for He paid a terrible price that I may have this day with the freedom to rejoice, the power to be glad, and the grace to live with our mistakes.





Lion and Lamb, Good Friday 2013

2013-03-29T07:28:45.120-04:00



This March I've been waiting for lion-like weather to become lamb-like.

 There is a certain irony, today, as I ponder a tree and a Lamb.

And I wait for the Lamb to return as a Lion.



Nearly April

2013-03-28T07:54:47.671-04:00

I've been trying to get my pictures caught up. OK, mostly thinking about getting my pictures caught up. Last night I was downloading and uploading and "feeling lucky" with 2010. I'm trying to keep 2013 up-to-date. They, the super-organizers, say to do that. I thought I'd share some of the March goings-on.Eating Breakfast with FriendsLearningBuildingDiscussingWatching Big-DiggersPlaying with the DogSwinging--Who Said They Wouldn't Want to Swing with Winter Coats On?Designing Housing for the Fairies Behind the ShedConsidering the Life-span of a SlugWorkingChillaxin' with Our PeepsGetting Ready for Spring, Whenever[...]



Out to Lunch

2013-02-08T14:22:53.000-05:00

Today, I took him to lunch. I wasn't planning to. I had already done my errand-run for the day and was content with some homemade chicken nuggets and mac 'n cheese. But Chris was taking Abigail to lunch with "his guys" from Sensus, and Simon pleaded for a date with me. I held out till I remembered that the number of solo-lunches he's had in his nearer-to-four three- year-old life were quite few in number.

So we got socks, scraped the toothpaste residue off his sweatshirt zipper, dressed for the drizzle and headed to Wendy's. (Which, along with other fast-food joints. I find less and less appealing as I've swung into we-need-to-round-up thirties.) He wanted chicken nuggets and fries. I wanted a burger (I should have wanted a salad).

And we had lunch together. It was different than the chatty lunches I have always had with Abigail. He was intent on his lunch and on the cars driving by and the people throwing their trash away. He wanted to talk about the light fixtures and, well, that was the extent of the conversation. I got to study him from across the table without distraction. The way few things go un-noticed. The way his lack of two bottom front teeth make no difference in the way he eats chicken nuggets and french fries. I wonder if this is what the dentist is talking about when she mentions his lack of overbite. I realize that I've heard everything he has said and I haven't had to shush him once.

He smiles at me and chews a chicken nugget. And I am reminded that he is boy. And one day there will be a girl sitting across from him wondering why he doesn't have anything to say. She, for a good long time in their relationship, won't be old enough to have learned that if a woman wants to converse with a man she should do it without food or if it is a dinner conversation have pre-thought-out topics. It is at about that time that she'll also start to request (a step above prefer) the sit-down place over the fast-food joint, and find that the seeing is sometimes just as good as the conversation.



Our Evenings. . .Now

2013-02-07T10:09:01.059-05:00

Working on Another PotholderPlaying TogetherExercisingMimicryLovin'UpFor a while, we watched videos every evening. I didn't know how to change it, till Chris talked about changing our grown-up habits. No Netflix to unwind? What about my fried brain? I'm supposed to read after a day reading? But when we changed, they changed.And it is nice to sit on the couch and read and snuggle and create. And no one is escaping anyone else in a screen. What these haven't been able to catch is the laughing till our sides hurt, the boy beatings that occur regularly, and the goodness of presence that is happening.All that said, I do not find TV all bad. I still employ its wiles in the morning when we're trying to wake together and I need a moment to plan. I'm sure there will be another season when we will watch more, but for now, I'll keep this.P.S. Please forgive the darkness in the photos. Our old camera memory stick is not compatible with our new computer, and while my phone (tracfone, thank you) takes good daytime pictures, it is seriously lacking in the area of dim picture taking.[...]



Walking Wednesday--Instead of Walking

2013-02-06T14:23:51.837-05:00

I think there is a real danger in committing too strongly to some things. Those things not spelled out to last forever, or for lifetimes, may be seasonal. Even marriage and parenthood and faith-walking are seasonal, after all, going through heady, wonderful seasons which wane into wearier, darker, more determined seasons. Those seasons waxing to brightness again.

Such has been the case with daily walking and Nature Walk Wednesdays. Sometimes we just don't feel like walking every day. Sometimes we don't feel like going outside.

Yesterday was such a day. Though the weather was warmer and the mist had stopped, going on a walk just wasn't the most appealing way to spend our time. But I forced it. Simon was glad to ride his handle bike. George was glad to get out after his recovery, or as much of it as we can handle. Abigail once outside wanted to build snowmen and women and children and dogs. And, me, I wanted to be inside working through the to-do list I just finished making.

But I forced it. Abigail lagged behind dragging a stick through the snow, and asking us to wait for her. I grew impatient with Simon's constant chatter, George's incessant pulling, and Abigail's passive-aggressive pokeyness. Yesterdays adherence to the determined schedule of our days did nothing but set us up to avoid each other for the remainder of the day. So much for the benefits of being outside.

Here's the thing . . . I want my children outside! More than I want them to walk, I want them to be outside
noticing the way the seasons change their world
feeling the earth
understanding the proclamation of goodness give by creation's Creator.
I want them to enjoy the out-of-doors. 

Taking their dog on a walk and feeding their pets, those are important things to do, promoting stewardship and responsibility. But sometimes all that responsibility becomes a burden and a law and a tradition stealing the very thing I most want out of daily walks.

So today, we bundled up. They built a snow village while I logged my faithfulness minutes and cleaned the drive way. We checked on the rabbits, ran with the dog, and made a date for a snowball fight. I forgot to take pictures.

We came in to learn and to play and eat tomato soup. There will be time for walking another day; today we just needed the enjoyment of being out of the house with one another. 

Incidentally, I believe that a two-against-one snowball fight should count as aerobic exercise, especially when the snow-village-building-time became make-ahead-snowball time. My goodness.



Just Counting Today

2013-02-05T09:09:03.109-05:00

:: crashing cars, 'cause that means he's here ::
:: early morning spelling, 'cause she's here ::
:: putting my feet under his legs ::
:: oatmeal ::
:: pictures on my phone ::
:: all those word in a journal, or several ::
:: cleared roads ::
:: a shovel and snowpants ::
:: daffodils popping up on the windowsill ::
:: forgetting the time ::

Moments when I can see His grace.