Sunday, December 16, 2012

To Feed

It seems I'm always feeding them something.
Rowan's a growing boy and the 22 pancakes he ate for breakfast have worn off an hour later and he needs a little something.
My husband likes a good dinner. And breakfast. And lunch.
So I live in the kitchen, wearing a cute apron, and we all wax plump.

I sit at the computer and send out emails until I am interrupted by a girl toppling into a chair. I glance over and see Avonlea, sprawled on upholstery of red velvet. My eyes take in a book laying next to her, one I had been reading from the night before. I don't hesitate, but jump into the chair next to her. I pull her close and grab the book in a single action.

"Have I ever told you the story of how I got this book?"
Her eyes glow and she answers, "No. How?"
"Once, when I lived in England, I had a friend...."

And I tell her the quirky story of my friend seeing this book on the bed of a deceased patient in a mental hospital in England and taking it to give me. This book. And I show her the inscription and the date, July 1939.

Dave comes home then and smiles at his two girls cuddled up.
He says, "When's dinner?"

I start to stand and she pulls me back.
"I've got to feed Daddy, Avonlea."
"But you're feeding me words."

I put my apron on and I smile.
It seems I'm always feeding them something.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Holiday Home Tour

When I was first approached about doing the Holiday Home Tour I thought, no. NO.

But as Dave and I prayed about it, we felt God say, yes. YES.

Our home certainly needed no praise, but what about the God whom this home represents? Could opening our home to the community bring Him glory? Yes. YES.

Hundreds of people came through on Saturday and Sunday. Hundreds of people that I poured tea for while my children served cookies and played instruments. Dave kept the conversation lively. Rose produced laughter and stories.

Friends helped serve and friends prayed for us and friends lent me teapots and musical children and aprons.

And we heard so many people say, "You feel the love when you walk in this home."
That's Christ in us, loving others.

Never by our own strength, or savvy, but only by His grace.

A man commented that we went over and above what was required of us for the home tour. All I could think of was the verse, "Let no debt remain outstanding except the continuing debt to love one another." Really, we can never go "over and above" God will have always, always, given us more than we can give to others.
And now my friends, I must go open my closets where everything I own is stuffed. I posted these pictures so that you could enjoy the home tour and see my house clean and decluttered, because you probably will never see it like that again.

Messy or clean, may God always be glorified in this home.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Family Win

Once upon a time I was in England going to Bible college in a castle.
Over the castle loudspeaker an English voice clipped, "Annie, you have a phone call in kiosk #2."
Overseas phonecalls, pre-cell phone days, were expensive and therefore rare.
I answered the phone and listened as my mom told me that I had a new nephew. My older sister had a boy following her two older girls. My heart and eyes welled up as I rejoiced with my family.

Years passed and I moved from England back to Alaska and finally down to the states only a few hours from my sister and her family. One time when I was at my sister's house I had a sweet tooth. She offered me the kid's Easter candy that she had stashed on top of the fridge. Not stopping to think about the fact the Easter had been several months previous, I picked out a Cadbury Creme Egg. Braden my nephew, who was about 2 years old, stood next to me and watched as I bit (with relish) into that creme egg. My expression changed to one of concern almost instantly and when I looked down into the egg I had just bitten from, I found that it was filled with ants instead of sugary, syrupy yolk.

I panicked. I grabbed the first thing within reach and wiped my tongue off. Repeatedly. Unfortunately, the first thing within reach was my nephew. I licked his arm up and down and possibly his shirt (the memory is a little fuzzy). He walked away from me as soon as I was done and fell face-down on the couch. He was traumatized.

Saturday, I sat in the stands waiting to watch Braden's high school football team compete for the 4A state title. My mom sat next to me on one side. My sister sat on the other side of my mom. My kids sat on the other side of me. The game started and we all became violent. A bad call from the ref. brought gnashing of teeth from all of us. My mother regularly screamed, "JUSTICE!" I noted as Braden made his first touchdown that we all, my mom, sister, nieces, etc. jumped up and down like bunnies.

I don't know a first down from a touch down. My mom may possibly know less than me. My sister has some vague ideas but regularly seeks her husband to explain what's happening. We don't know a lot about football. But we know this boy, and we love him. We want him to succeed, we want him to win. We are willing to scream ourselves hoarse and be bunnies for his sake.

As I sat there in the cold on Saturday I realized that being there wasn't about football at all. (Disclaimer: My husband does not agree with this statement) It was about family. It was about investing in the lives of the people around us; praying for them and following up the prayers with actions and time together. It was about two antagonistic sisters who grew up and learned to love each other. It was about a little mom who held us all together with her love and prayers. And it was about all these kids, these cousins who grew up together sharing life.

Braden, as quarterback, led his team to victory. As soon as we were able we surged the football field and found our son/grandson/nephew. My mom, who comes up to Braden's bellybutton, had her camera held up over her head trying to get a picture of his face. She got a nice shot of someone's ear.
We were all laughing, following this boy across the field.
We were celebrating a family win.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Value of a Wedge

We have a saying in our family, "Don't be a wedge."
Granted, it's said mostly to one child.
He has a gift for provoking, dividing us in anger or frustration.
One day in school, we studied the wedge as a tool. I explained to the kids that a family is like a piece of wood. We have cracks, but we're a solid unit. When one child acts as a wedge in a family, they stick in the crack, and their actions and words hammer and split apart something that was whole.
"Don't be a wedge."

We walk this Christian walk with others and we learn from each other. We've been close to a family for years, and this family also harbors a wedge. And as their wedge got older, the consequences, the frustration, the crack in the family veneer, deepened. But what dawned on me the other day is this family is not falling apart. God is using this child to provoke things deep within themselves, things that never would have come to light if it hadn't been for the struggles with this child. And the way they handle the situation brings glory to God and brings others closer to God.
And their child, with wedge tendencies, is a tool used by God to bring light into dark places.

Jesus was a wedge. Everywhere he went He caused division. Because God didn't care about what people looked like on the outside. God cared about their hearts. God is in the business of cracking people wide open, healing, and binding up again. Jesus blatantly stated that He came to divide, "Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division....They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter..." * You get the idea.
To God, no whole is worth more than the Spiritual whole.
He knows that we can put up a good facade while we put our faith in a whole lot of other things, but by His Grace, He cracks the facade asunder, shows the rotten core of our faith, exposes the heart.
Jesus brings light into dark places.

The family who's wounds are bound by God, who's fissures and cracks prompt repentance, confession, change and growth, will be used by God.

We have a wedge, and we have to acknowledge that for some reason, God wanted us to have him. We need him in our family.
Just because something is whole, doesn't mean it's healthy.
The core of our family could be rotting, but as long as we're keeping it together on the outside, we resist help. Jesus refers to this as "whitewashed tombs."*
So my thinking evolves. And I thank God that the son who provokes has a purpose. And I pray that I stop resisting the wedge and let it do it's God-given work in our lives. Even when that's painful. Even when it cracks the veneer. Because I want light more than I want a glossy exterior.
And I thank God for friends who let me see into their crevasses and who say in the dark places, "God is good to allow this."
Because He is.

I need to alter the family saying,
because any tool in the hand of God can wield good.

*Luke 12:51-53 NIV
*Matt. 23:27 NIV

Thursday, November 15, 2012

This Life We Eat or This Food We Live

I used to eat ice cream for breakfast.
Mint chocolate chip or
Peanut butter chocolate in a pinch.

I didn't just have a sweet tooth, but a whole sweet mouth.
I ate what I wanted and didn't really care what was in it, as long as it was yummy.

I could make cookies by myself without a recipe by the time I was 7.
When Avonlea was 7 she was well on her way to such heights of accomplishment, when it hit.
Gluten. Dairy. Eggs. Sugar.

Avonlea sat in the doctor's office and described her allergic reactions.
She kept saying, "But that's not allergies because my Daddy does it, too."
And as I sat there and her words worked their way through my brain I realized what I later told her in the car, "Life as we know it is over."

Dave did indeed have the same allergies as she did. So did Grant. And Rowan. Rosy's reaction to egg produced an emergency room visit.

To make a long story short, I no longer eat ice cream for breakfast.
We now eat very differently and I've come to terms with it all.
Soaking grains can be fun. Really.
Raw milk is yummy and the cream on top can be made into ice cream. With honey.

I know how this all has affected me but sometimes I forget that my children also have been affected by these limitations and food awareness.
And then I'm reminded.

Dave took Grant hunting this month. Dave had grabbed a bunch of food at the store before they left. He later told me that Grant refused to eat the canned chili that he made for dinner. Why? Grant read the label, spotted "Trans fat" in the nutritional information, and wanted nothing to do with it. He wouldn't eat it. Dave scoffed at him, ate it, and was later sick. Grant had a moment of "I told you so."

So my ten year old checks labels and won't eat it if it's not gets worse.

Monday night we watched Sound of Music as a family. At the opening of the film it is announced that the movie is modified to fit the screen.
Avonlea turned to me gaping, "They modified the movie!" Yes my daughter knows about genetically modified foods, which we avoid at all costs, and thought that they somehow did something unhealthy to the movie. I had to assure that it was perfectly safe to watch.
I was still reeling from this when the part in the movie comes where the kids and Maria buy fruit at the stand and take it up into the mountains to have a picnic. During this charming scene, where the boys are playing ball and the girls are lounging while they eat their fruit, Rosy turned to me in consternation and said, "They didn't wash that fruit!"
I explained lamely that they probably did but just didn't show it and I toyed with the idea of explaining to her that they probably didn't use harmful pesticides at that time, but I let it pass.

I think I'm going to go make some ice cream for breakfast.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Birthday Babies, Fairyland, and Pigs

Today is my mother's birthday.
Happy Happy Birthday Ma Glo!
This morning at 5am she got a phone call.
There was a birthday present on the way....
Another call confirmed it's arrival....
Mom got a great-granddaughter for her birthday!
My sister's daughter had her baby two weeks early!

Rowan and Rose spent the entire day making presents for Ma Glo.
I commented at one point that life would be much easier for me if she had a birthday every week.
Everyone was so occupied.

She finally opened Rowan and Rose's gifts after dinner.
They gave her lavender in a bunch (picked from her garden), a handmade placemat, a crown and necklace made from paper (see above), and Rowan gave her $5 (see below).

In other news, three of my children have begun taking regular trips to fairyland.
Avonlea made up the game in the basement, I thought it sounded charming.
I came down and saw this....

Apparently, only girls can get into fairyland and so Rowan needed a disguise.
I AM NOT OKAY WITH THIS, even though it gave me a very needed laugh.
Rowan is henceforth banned from fairyland unless they can accept him as he is, masculine.
I'm thinking these pictures will one day be worth a whole lot of money.
I'm expecting a little more than $5 in my birthday card.

Rowan spent the night at Ma Glo's house last weekend. He came up in the morning, with his holster and gun over one shoulder and a metal bucket of puppy food in one hand. "Well," he said, "I didn't get any sleep last night. Ma Glo snored SO loud."
I had warned him. "Well Rowan, I told you..."
He interrupted, "No Mom, I'm not complaining, I loved it!"
Later when Ma Glo apologized for the nocturnal chorus he re-emphasized his delight, "Oh it was fine Ma Glo. I loved it. It was like sleeping with a pig."

I think maybe Ma Glo should have gotten more than $5 in her card, too.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Why I Hesitate to Leave the House

I have an incredible husband.

Contrary to my first opinion of him, he is very creative.

Almost...dare I say it....artistic.
He took this picture.

Need I say more?

He calls rugs, "floor blankets".
He is amazing at mixing cliches and says things like:
"We'll cross that bridge when we burn it."
He unconsciously created an incredible mental image when he grafted "You're trying to get my goat" and "Get off my back" into,
"Get off my goat."

He melded "Don't boast" and "Don't toot your own horn" when he told Grant,
"Don't boast your toot."
Which being a male, also was applicable.

So, I am used to these kind of things.
I know, that if I send him out for ice cream, he is very likely to come home with 19 half gallons.
This my friends, is the honest truth, I am not exaggerating,
He is just rather incredible.

because of this.....
I always hesitate just a little to leave home.
NOT because I don't trust him....
but because of that crazy creative streak.

I came home from harp last night pleased to see that the younger kids had been bathed.
I commented on their wet hair and Rowan replied,
"Yeah, Dad let us take a bath with Gypsy! He took pictures!"
This was a blow.
It never crossed my mind that Dave might be tempted to bathe children and puppy together.
I turned on the camera with trepidation.
It was all too true. There was Rowan in a washrag loincloth and his puppy. In the bathtub.
Dave told me the loincloth was not as much for modesty as to protect the goods from a hungry pup.   
When I questioned him on the wisdom of this arrangement, he brushed it off with a,
"Well I needed to do a flea shampoo...."
I walked away.

Really between my Jewish Mother and my Creative Husband,

I feel normal.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Scent of Adventure

Two weeks into school and I was finished.
I hit the wall in September that I don't usually hit until June.
Not good.

I love home schooling my children. But what started out as a fun adventure had somehow morphed into a crazy Ben-Hurish chariot race. Through the years we've quadrupled our number of children that need to be educated, we've added several instruments (with lessons!), not to mention ballet, basketball, art, Spanish, Friday School, etc.

I sat Dave down, on the Friday night of the second week, and told him I was pretty much finished.
He was unsure of how to take this.
He thought maybe he should quit his job and help me.
This scared me into clearer thinking.
My thoughts were that we should chuck everything extracurricular.
Toss it.
Who cares that we've invested thousands of dollars into lessons? So what that we bought Avonlea a harp? Why does Craigslist exist if not for the superfluous harp?
Dave and I hit these thoughts back and forth rather like a lame game of badminton when suddenly, he scored. "How about asking your mom to help?"
The room pulsed with light for a minute as we paused.
My mom will be 72 next month. She still works full time and then some. Maybe she'd like to retire to my house? Hmmmmm.
Dave pounced on my uncertainty, "Go down and ask her right now." (She lives next door).

I went. I asked.
She replied, "Can you hold on for two weeks so I can give my notice?"
I fainted (in spirit if not body).

Apparently she was ready to retire, ready to jump in and help me out for a bit, ready for God's next adventure for her. However, I'm not sure who's in for the bigger adventure, her or I.

We are in our third week of togetherness. Rowan and Rose climbed into bed with me this morning and I inhaled and had an urge to throw them in the frying pan and saute them with some onion. Upon questioning I discovered that mom's been slipping them whole pickled garlic cloves. They eat them like candy at her house.

Last week she told me to clean up the Lincoln Logs and I had a crazy urge to tell her that Rosy spilled them and not me! Why should I have to clean them up! It's not fair!

She drove the kids to piano and sang Jewish songs in Hebrew at the top of her lungs the whole way home. The children were slightly traumatized and only agreed to go with her again if she gave them more pickled garlic. It's a vicious cycle my friends.

Rowan asked her if she was alive when Pompeii was buried. She wouldn't answer him. He was rather offended. "I still don't know," he said sadly.

All in all, I feel like this is how life was meant to be lived. The stories she tells, the songs she sings, the garlic she propagates, all add to the richness, the fullness, the aroma of our lives. There is a circular sense of rightness. There is a give and take that is generous yet careful of boundaries.

The wall that I was hitting has disappeared and life is a fun adventure again.
And I feel what I sometimes only know, that God loves me very much and he cares.

"Rosy if you get off of me I'll give you some pickled garlic!"

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Hours Gained

I sat on a moss cushioned log.
It was beautiful and surprisingly comfortable.
The stream gurgled beside me and I
I heard the boys upstream building a dam.
The sounds of a dam being built are chiefly
laughter and puppy yaps.
Rosy cleaned out a tributary downstream.
Her voice, clear and high as the autumn sky,
"Summer's over, now it's fall, just the nicest time of all."
I smiled and watched as a sudden pant of wind
rained golden leaves. Her voice pipped again,
"Down, down, down, leaves of red and gold and brown,
come falling, falling down."
Eventually she joined me on the log, leaned into me,
golden head on my arm.
An afternoon passed and I gained
the hours.
I held the autumn wind in my hand for a moment.
The stream paused in it's rippling journey and I felt it's stillness.
A five year old remained inactive next to me.
Miracles surely.
Later that night there would be cookies and stories.
Grant would tell me, "It always feels like Christmas when we're with you."
And even later,
I would lean my dark head into my husband's shoulder,
and listen to the rain on the roof.
And sleep.
Rowan and Gypsy

Dam building!

Rose on the log waiting for me!

Story time!

Harvest time!

The exceeding beauty of the earth, in her splendour of life, yields a new thought with every petal. The hours when the mind is absorbed by beauty are the only hours when we really live, so that the longer we can stay among these things so much the more is snatched from inevitable Time. -Jefferies

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Isn't She Yummy?

Rowan turned seven with a very big bang.
A treasure hunt led to a puppy.
The yummiest, darlingest ittle silver lab.

At night, there was a party with family.
Pizza. Cupcakes. Gifts.

A big boy was tucked into bed with a little silver dog snuggled in his arms.
"Daddy, can you die of excitement?"
Practical Dave replied, "Yes, if you have a weak heart, you could die of excitement."
"Do I have a weak heart Daddy? Cause I'm really excited."

Rowan was assured of the strength of his heart. He and a little dog named Gypsy Pepsi (don't ask) fell fast asleep.
And they lived happily ever after.
The End.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Making Time

Dave told me an itinerary of things he needed to do, things that bulged his hours to the breaking.
I reminded him of one he had forgotten, one he had no time left for.
He paused a minute then said, "Well, I'll just have to make time."
A little boy, never far from his Daddy, looked up with question marks for pupils and asked, "HOW?"
How do you make time?
What tools do you wield to fashion an exquisite hour?
4 years old

5 years old

6 years old

7 years old
My pumpkin baby turns 7 this week.
His mouth is full of random sized teeth. He likes to use every roll of tape in the house to "create". He never puts the toothpaste away. Or his toothbrush. He's his Daddy's shadow.
He wants to know how to make time.

I can't tell him that.
But I can tell him how to make his time count.

I can tell him that every minute spent seeking God counts.
Every hour given to serving another counts.
Every day that sees him growing, soul expanding, counts.
The moments of prayer, the hours of agony, the tears, the laughter, the life, lifted up to God, counts.

And really, all of these 7 precious years, have been spent teaching him how to make time, how to make his time count.

I can't wait to see what God makes of this child.
I am so thankful for the Grace that gave me a front row seat.
And I praise God in advance, for Rowan's life, full of days that count.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Sometimes God brings people into your life who speak your language,
the individual dialect of your personality.
Sometimes we birth those people.
Rose knows, in her wisdom of five years, how to interpret me.
She understands the puckered lips, the wide eyes, the slow calm, "Uh-huh."
We talk about fairies and flowers and other things that no one else really cares about.
She makes me laugh like my dad used to make me laugh, with a surprised gasp and then a trill of laughter.
For example, walking home from the antique store on Saturday, we passed a person smoking a cigarette.
"Smoking is bad, right Mommy?"
"Yes darling, smoking is terrible for your body and God wants us to take care of our bodies."
"I know it's bad Mommy, but I think I'm going to do it anyway when I grow up. If you see me could you remind me that I'm not supposed to?"
Gasp. Laugh.

This morning I taught for three hours. I finally finished everyone up except Rowan who was still drawing a bat in his nature book. I slipped off to what would be called my "man cave" were I of a different gender, and started up my computer. I glanced at the clock and saw I had 20 minutes until I needed to make lunch. Perfect. Rose came in with a big smile and a bigger stack of books. Not so perfect.
"I thought you might want to read these to me."
"Rosy, mommy's been reading for three hours, I'm hoarse."
"I'll look at the pictures while I wait for you."

Hmmmm. I began typing but noticed out of the corner of my eye that she was fascinated by a picture in one of her books. I caught a glance of a huge dragon breathing fire at a little boy. I cringed, she's a sensitive soul, like her mommy, and gets nightmares from pretty much everything.
She turned wide eyes to me and said, "WHERE is his mommy!"

I pounced on her then. Holding her close I asked, "What are you going to become Rose?"
She answered, "A ballerweena. Maybe a princess." She caught my eye and said in her naughty voice, "I'm going to be a step-mother."
Gasp. Laugh.

I've never met a child who wanted to be a step mother,
who thought they were probably going to smoke when they grew up,
who wanted to talk to irresponsible mommies about letting their little boys play with dragons.

It's the language of absurdities and shocking statements and gasping laughter.
It's way easier than French.
And I love that in a world full of personalities,
two of us nuts landed here,

Tonight I sang a song as I slid pumpkin chocolate chip cookies off a tray, "Ohhhh don't you know, we belong together, ohhhh."
Big hazel eyes looked up from the cookies and a little voice answered the question I didn't know I was asking, "Yes, I do know."
I know it, too.
We belong, here in this kitchen, in this life,

Monday, September 24, 2012


I grew up in the shadow of a mountain.
The mountains were a protective hedge around our home in Alaska.
They put my little life into perspective; daily.
They were massive and comforting and there.

When I moved down here to the states, I remember someone asking me if I had seen "the mountain."
I responded with my typical grace and sensitivity, "The mountain! You only have one?!"

I traded my mountains and woods for neighborhoods and libraries and parks.
When we were first married, Dave and I would go hiking every weekend.
We continued, even after we both had a baby strapped on our back.
But eventually, our hikes ceased and life became an indoor affair.
I lost some of my perspective.

But this summer, I grew up in the shadow of a mountain.
Yes, it was the mountain; the one and only.
But even in it's singularity it brought me back to something.
It connected me with a home. A home that was never perfect, but was mine nonetheless. A home where a mother and father and sisters and a brother lived. A home where cats paraded and pianos plunked. A home where we were outside more than in, even when the temperature was below freezing.
I am comfortable in nature because it feels like coming home.
That is a great gift, one I don't want to cash in for a house, no matter how lovely the house may be.

We've spent the last two weeks in school and have approximately 34 weeks left.
During these two weeks, I've thought repeatedly of our summer up in the woods, at the cottage.
I watched my children grow there, outside.
I watched as they explored the world God made, the beautiful, breathtaking world.
I saw them dance in the dusk with bats and then fall into bed, dirty and exhausted.

Now, I see them bent over their math books, and I realize that some of my perspective came back this summer.
I want them to be diligent, but I would rather they feel at home in the woods than with a textbook.
I want them to be hard workers but I also desire that they know where to go to be refreshed.
I want them to learn to seek perspective from the mountain.

Tomorrow I will wake up at 6:30 am. I'll do some sit-ups and head into the autumn air for a run. I'll walk briskly up a long steep hill (I only run downhill). When I get to the top I'll look out across the gorge and I'll see the lone mount rising out of the mist. I'll thank God for the past it connects me with and the future it offers me. I'll stand for just a moment in the shadow of the mountain.

"Come, let us go up to the
mountain of the LORD,
to the house of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways,
so that we may walk in his paths."
Micah 4:2

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Random End of Season Ramblings

It's been along time since I've sat down to write at the computer.
I've been busy.
It's been a distinctly good summer,
but I'm ready to move on into the school year.
The children are antsy and Grumpy Mommy has emerged
to quell them.
They prayed out loud for me while we drove in the car today.
They prayed that I wouldn't be so grumpy. Every one of them sent up a petition.
It was touching.
And it helped for approximately five minutes.
So, hurrah for a schedule around here, where Grumpy Mommy turns into Purring Mommy who resembles the Persian cats (minus the clogged eye ducts).

Here are some pictures of when Dave took the kids camping last week.

These are some reasons that I don't go camping with them. They eat things like crayfish. This time the boys also, creatively, caught water skaters, boiled them, and ate them, too. Yum.

On the way up to the cottage Avonlea decided to read out loud to the kids. Now, our family has never used the term "butt" we say "bum". I'm proper that way. However, I didn't realized that none of our kids even know what that term means. Avonlea is reading a book aloud about a canyon and the word "buttes" figures into the story heavily. She pronounces this "butts". I correct her once. She ignores me. I'm starting to get rather uncomfortable but am unsure of how to proceed. Then she reads the sentence, "So they sat down around the campfire and stared up at all the beautiful, shining, butts." An anatomy conversation followed.

Our time at the cottage was exciting. The pear harvest is beginning and there are workers and trucks and bustle everywhere. Avonlea and Grant were able to help harvest Bartlett's on Sunday. They loved it! The farmers who farm our orchard are wonderful people and they are so good to the kids. Farmer Dave showed the kids how to trap gophers. He took them to one of the traps and showed them the dead gopher, buried it, and then showed them how to reset the trap. This is the equivalent of Heaven to my boys. Rosy however, dubbed Farmer Dave, "Bloody Gopher Man." She was disciplined and she told him sorry, but we can't get the name out of our heads. She has a way with words and I wouldn't be surprised if she ends up naming lipsticks for a living. The boys unburied the dead gopher to show Dave. They then attempted to unearth the poor soul again to show me. I wouldn't have it. No matter, I dreamt of Pet Cemetery all night that night. A crazy jumble of giant gophers, snapping traps, and Bloody Gopher Man.

I've been immersed in the book The Outliers. I'd be immersed in it this minute if it wasn't for the fact that Dave took it and immersed himself. Anyway, it's about the 10,000 hour theory. In short, the idea that if you practice anything for 10,000 hours you will be exceptional at it. So of course I took it and applied it to homeschooling. Most people don't know what they really want to do until they're older. What if you knew at 7 and started racking up the hours while most kids your age were eating water skippers? So....I explained all this to Avonlea, who practices music an hour and a half a day already, and asked her if that was want she wanted to excel at. Her answered picked up my world and shook it like a snow globe. She said, "What I really want to do is get married and be a mommy. I want to home school my children. I want to be like you. So really, I don't need to know anything."

The day after this comment I went out and bought a guitar. The day after that I got CDs that will apparently teach me French while I drive and I can already say "What do you want?" in French, so I suppose it's working. I guess Avonlea's comment made me wonder what I have learned intellectually in the last ten years. Surprisingly little. I haven't pursued knowledge, but it's pursued me. The things I've learned, I've learned for the sake of survival. God's brought the life lessons I've needed when I needed them. So maybe this too, has come at an opportune time. I can spend an hour a night working on French and guitar. At that rate, I'll be exceptional in 27 years, 145 days.

And then, won't you be glad you know me?

I wonder if lipstick naming is lucrative.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Getting Ready

I laid in bed and thought. I followed the thoughts in circles, got carsick, and tried to apply brakes to the endless motion. There was a lot to do.
My niece was getting married on Saturday. It was Monday, and the first wave of family would crash into our shore that night at around 8pm. In all, there would be about 20 people sleeping at my house and my mom's house. No wonder I was carsick. There was a lot to do.

However, through the years I've learned something.
I can clean my house until it shines, until it dazzles, but if my soul is a mess, it really doesn't matter.
If I scour the floor but am harboring unforgiveness or unrepentance, my hospitality blesses no one.
So this time, I cleaned my house, but I also prayed and asked others to pray. I prayed alone. With Dave. With the kids. I prayed for grace to give and love and serve. I prayed that we might help and bless and bring joy. I took time, even in the midst of the chaos to spend time with God.
I straightened the furniture and I aligned my heart to God's Spirit.
It made all the difference.
So when someone made a comment about the naughty little girl I used to be, I was able to smile and say, "Isn't God good? Look at His grace that saved me!"
And when my sister told me that we had to make 200 cupcakes on the 98 degree day, I was able to say, "That's what sister's are for!"
And when I had to go to the craft store to figure out how to frost the aforesaid cupcakes and how to display them on the cake table, and I broke out in a cold sweat because craft stores scare me, I was able to pray for guidance and see God give it.

So although the time was filled with work, it was also filled with love and laughter and family.
And the little girl who had made me an aunt, made me proud.

And the family that was last together for a funeral came together for a wedding.
Tonight, the last family left. I threaded my way through the living room maze of lincoln logs and vitamin water and sprinkles. I missed the noise of many feet and voices. But I remembered that not everyone left, I've got four babes and a husband who will wake in the morning.
And they will want to find a mama/wife with a well cleaned soul.....
I gotta go!
My mom and brother

Rowan and his cousin drew themselves holding hands.

Rowan dancing with his cousin at the wedding

Dancing with the bride!

Rosy and Cait

The little guy who's responsible for my sister becoming a grandma

Rowan and cousin Summer
Avonlea playing with the little girls


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