Wednesday, May 30, 2012

She sits in the front seat now and her feet reach the floor.

I'm not sure when I first noticed it. The first extended family gathering when she stayed around the table to talk with the adults instead of running off with the kids.

It's pretty consistent now. She's one of us.

I've been thinking lately that I had no idea the frisbee was a boomerang.

I watched her toddle away. I thought my baby was gone.

She's back.
In elongated form.

And I love it.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Retraction Revised

My mother gave her full permission for this post. After she read it, she laughed hysterically and then made moose grunts and chased me up the path to my house. So for those of you who have contacted me hinting that I'm cruel and that my mother should be made a Saint.... No, I'm not cruel, this is our humor. And yes, she should be made a Saint.  Actually she already is. A Saint with a sense of humor.
I stated a few weeks ago that I had my doubts if my mother ever changed my sheets.
She was not happy with this statement.
She assured me that she changed my sheets weekly.
She washed them in the Alaskan river while keeping a sharp look-out for bears and moose.
In the winter she had to first break the ice on the river to get down to the water, all the while keeping a sharp look-out for hunters, as she was wearing her parka and looked like a fuzzy cub.
She assured me of this adamantly.
I would hint of exaggeration here except I know that it's possible she picked up some moves from the aforesaid bears and moose. I also know she's in training and I'm a little scared of her.

Do you blame me????

Monday, May 28, 2012

Pictures of Vacation

As I've stated several times....we started this crazy habit with Avonlea of letting our children pick somewhere to travel to for their birthday every five years.
This year we were a little surprised to find that Grant turned 10 and Rose turned 5 within months of each other. They both had the privilege of picking a vacation spot and they picked places with 20 minutes of each other. God is merciful. Amen?
Rosy wanted to pet a dolphin and Grant wanted to go on rides and see Lego creations.
San Diego here we come....
Rosy getting her wish

My kind of ride

All legos!

Star Wars legos were the highlight


Nights around the fire, telling tales


The house we rented had an awesome pool

My girls dancing on the beach. Really.

Gathering seaweed kept them busy for hours.

Avonlea loves boogie-boarding

It's not a two piece mom. Really.


And we came home to these little things...

Dave and I have followed this vacation pattern for years. In the daytime we go somewhere fun, do something active and different. At night we come home to a place that's inviting and cuddle round and tell stories. Their little bodies are weary, there minds are open to wonder, their hearts are filled with the joy of family, it's a prime time for parents to impact. Dave and I spent these nights telling the kids their stories. Outlining the pictures in the collage of generations. Showing God's hand through it all, guiding along the curves, leading back to His path. We give them a sense of belonging to a bigger story. A sense that their lives are precious and important to Him and that He has a great work to do in and through them. Then we tuck them in and I stand in the hall and sing to them.
And the last thing they remember is their mommy's voice...praising God....
This is my definition of a good vacation. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


It started at a tea party almost thirteen years ago.
A group of girls came over to my house for a baby shower tea. Nice girls, proper tea, it was good. But one of those things wasn't quite like the others. One of the girls was explaining something and got up and stood on one of my dining room chairs. This surprised me. While she was up there, I happened to notice that she was wearing a floor-length retro '70's dress. Wow. Not normal tea-party attire, but groovy.
Unbidden it popped into my mind, "I like her."
I still do.
We managed an escape this weekend. Just a night up at the cottage. Our loving husbands watched our nine children (combined total) and let us have time to talk and laugh and eat and pray. [Blessings on you good men.] One of the first things we had to do when we got up there was strip the girl's bed and wash the sheets so she could sleep there.
"It's so much better to do it together," she said.
I gave her my smiling, I have no idea what you're talking about look.
"The bed, it's so much better to make it with two people. Didn't your mother ever say that?" she asked.
I explained that I have NO recollections of my mother ever saying that or of her making my bed. (Side: Uh mom, did you ever wash my sheets????)
Sheets done, we rambled long through woods and country roads. We remembered so many funny things and added a few new ones to the list. Our recollections turned to reflections which led to prayer.
She's my friend and I thank God for her.
She dropped me back home the next morning and the rest of the day her words ran stream-like through my mind, "It's so much better to do it together."
Life is good. Life together is better.
I don't know if my mother ever told me that either.
But it doesn't matter because I've found it out for myself.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Making it Right

We were on vacation for a week. Our plane landed on the runway with high speed and at the same pace we jumped back into life. We got to our home on Tuesday night at 5:15ish and I taught ballet 15 minutes later at 5:30. I had a Superman moment as I threw off my traveling clothes and threw on my ballet clothes and slippers. Kinda fun.
Unfortunately, it didn't stop there. The next day, suitcases laying unpacked in the living room, we zoomed through 3 piano lessons, milk delivery, harp and violin lessons. Yikes.
Thursday brought 20some children to our home for Spanish lessons. I was having a great time but apparently it was a little much for the kids. Friday morning Rowan broke down.
He made a bad choice, which is not uncommon, but his reaction to it was terrifying. In retrospect, he must have been very sorely tried by all my running around and the messy state of the house and life in general. He ended up on his bed in a crying fit. I sat next to him and prayed over him and tried to gently reason with him. I had to take a couple important phone calls during this whole situation and I noticed that he cried worse after I had talked on the phone.
So I asked, "What is it about mommy talking that makes you so sad?"
He responded, "It's embarrassing that people hear me crying!"
As I probed deeper, I realized the whole of the outburst came not from the knowledge that he did wrong, but from the fear and embarrassment of people, including me and his siblings, knowing that he did wrong.
An hour and a half later he came to, emerged from his state of anger and sadness, and got up.
My day was, by this time, pretty much shot, but I decided to drag the kids to the grocery store anyway, seeing as how we had been living on cheese since coming home from vacation.
I pulled into a parking place at the store. We piled out and I looked back at the car. Sigh, my back tires were in the spot next to me.
I told the kids, "Stand here on the sidewalk and wait for me. I've got to go back and make this right."
I got into the car and backed out and looked up to see my four children in a straight line on the sidewalk, watching me make it right. Tears came into my eyes as I realized how often this scenario has played out in our lives. Mommy going back and fixing her mistake with all eyes riveted. I suddenly had a sympathy for Rowan. It's bad enough to make mistakes, it's hard to have them seen.
I got out of the car and said, "The important thing is to make it right no matter who's watching." I said it for myself as well as for them. I said it so I'd remember.
We stood there for a minute and Rowan put his little brown arms around me.
There is purpose and voice in almost everything that happens to us. Each wave brings it's own treasures to the shore. Every moment is a mine of it's own, holding unquarried jewels.

Tonight I watched out the window while Dave and the kids played baseball. Rowan was going for a home run and got tagged at third base. I saw him fall in frustration and I held my breath. He looked up at the window, looked to see who was watching, and hung his head when he saw that I saw his failure. Then he got up, waved to me with a little smile hovering, and joined the game.
He's going to fail. People will see his mistakes. But he's learning to get back in the game. And watching my mistakes and how I deal with them may just teach him what my words never could.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


I watch the kids on stage leading worship and I water the front of my shirt. I cry because, in a God moment,  I remember a hundred stories all at once.

It's Presentation Night at our home school co-op. There are families around me that I've been in community with for 6 years. There are kids on stage, one that I've watched morph from a hyper 10 year old into a confident 16 year old worship leader. I know these people's stories.

Usually, I'm thinking of the here and now when I'm around them. I'm thinking things like, "I need to ask so-and-so if I can borrow that book." "I have to tell so-and-so the funny thing her daughter said in ballet class." "I need to see how so-and-so is handling her grief." So I'm wrapped up in the here and now of life and home school and community.

But at Presentation Night I look around me and in an overwhelming wave, I remember their stories. The stories that brought them to our city from communist countries. The stories of how they came to be homeschooling when they were fiercely against it. Stories of dealing with twins and stories of open heart surgery for the three year old and stories of leukemia in a five year old ballerina. The stories of sacrifices made to home school. Stories of faithfulness and love and hope.

I know many of their stories. I've watched their families grow up and out and deepen.

And they know me. And they only laugh when Rosy tells them that the coffee they are drinking is going to kill them. And they graciously cover for me when everyone comes over for Spanish class and instead of making the mothers' tea, I am upstairs helping the cat birth kittens. They pray for me and bring me meals and laugh at my drama. They give me chocolate, just because.

We are knit together and though the stories are passed to me through many mouths there is one Author of them all. We bring our stones of testimony to this place and make a monument to the One who gives all shape and form and beauty.

As we are getting ready to leave Presentation Night, Dave and I stop to talk with someone I only know slightly. Something Dave said, brought a smile to her sweet face, and she says, "Do you want to hear my story about that?"

And we say, "Yes."

And we are blessed and proud to know the Author of her story.


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