Thursday, March 31, 2011

Hibernation

I appreciate days like today, when last night's flakes linger on dawn's lawn, and mist speckles the windows. When there is no stunning sunrise, and my daughters delight in the kitchen while I make pancakes. Cold morning, heat humming, coffee perking, and pancakes.

I appreciate a day like this that I don't feel guilty I've wasted spring, but languish a bit in cold: memory and heart, socks on feet, blanket shawl. That I don't have to force a happy facade of windows open or wonder why my heart isn't in line with birds singing. Where trees are still bare enough, and I can feel my soul laid bare.

"Genuine grief is the deep sadness and weeping that expresses the acceptance of our inability to do anything about our losses. It is a prelude to letting go, to relinquishment. It is dying that precedes resurrection." Recovering from Losses in Life by H. Norman Wright, quote by Roy Fairchild. 

It's gray and cloudy and my mood doesn't have to sing sunshine. I can hibernate one more day--this cozy cocoon of home. So I will.

Monday, March 28, 2011

One thousand gifts and still counting (1499-1510)

1499. meals to lighten the load
1500. friends who rally in difficult times
1501. family gatherings around a table
1502. hugs
1503. hope based on truth

1504. gelato
1505. bluebirds at the window
1506. another day
1507. glowing sunsets
1508. magnesium

1509. colored Carebear cutouts
1510. Lindsay

Friday, March 25, 2011

Joy completed

And he’s talking to the disciples; and he’s preparing them for what’s ahead; and he’s saying to remain in him and to remain in his love; he says to keep his commands; and he’s telling them this so that his joy will be in them and their joy will be complete.

And I sort of stumble over joy. The disciples are going to be pruned. They are going to be hated. But Jesus tells them how they can have joy. Joy completed.

Writing over at 66 Books.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

No doubt

We normally are part of a play group on Wednesdays. Erin and I took the day off. Chilly temps. Gray skies. Morning drizzle. All the perfect elements for a day at home. We played Play-Doh. I drank hazelnut decaf to warm my bones. We read lots of books cuddled together until I thought a little nap was in order. Putting on Erin's movie choice, we huddled and cuddled on the couch. She, settled in my arms, so tiny and precious and four, I kissed the top of her head and said, "I love you."

"I knew you were going to say that," she replied.

Love like there's no doubt.

Monday, March 21, 2011

One thousand gifts and still counting (1457-1498)

for the woman who printed out my sister's bank statements and didn't charge her for it
that my sister felt blessed on a very difficult day
grocery stores with food in them
a mattress
with blankets

clean water
a home
hot showers
clean clothes
children tucked safely in bed

sunshine
grass greening
hugs
good weather for grilling
exercising with Lanie

phone calls and emails
friends who aren't afraid of tears
his warmth in the hug
family
gifted cookies and tea on the patio with a friend the day Bob died

birthday parties
a lost key that was found (big grins!)
coconut flavored coffee pods in limited edition
smiles that last the day
a full heart

big full moon
talking to Erin on the phone and her "I love you, Mama."
The most, the most, the most (being loved the most by her)
glow golf
birthday cake

smart phones
bookstores
book clubs
humility
grace

trials that bring me closer to You
reconciliation
that You hear prayers
Beckie
computer hearts (<3)

and Jesus pins

Friday, March 18, 2011

Spin

On Facebook, springtime statuses remarking sunny days ... turning off heat ... 5k charity runs ... music videos. All the regular status stuff. And I wanted to write:

My father-in-law died this morning. 

But I didn't write it.

From Erin, "I wish no one had to die and we could live forever. There would always be hugs and kisses."

And I am reminded at how this planet keeps on spinning in the aftermath of loss. And how I know that that status would get buried in the tumbling updates of others' things to do and thoughts; this echo in the canyon fades.

Spin, spin.

And I will be out and about running errands today. And each day I will go about my business, face the same daily challenges, and hope the same hopes. And on one of those days I will stand by my husband's father's grave. Hard stop.

Thinking of life punctuated with these hard stops, and my heart is breaking at my strong man's walk through this day (and I'm hoping people will show him kindness), of the grief we all wear on the inside. Thinking of spin, facades, lives that barely intersect, and no goodbyes.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

"All will be right tomorrow ..."

Because there are better things to think about, however ordinary:

green blades reaching up

capri pants

a library run with my best girls

cookie baking

lunch hour phone call to my man

beer bread recipe for chicken and salad dinner tonight

cleaning windows ... because the world looks better and brighter through clear glass

and Van Morrison, Cleaning Windows.

Monday, March 14, 2011

One thousand gifts and still counting (1445-1456)

1445. Being forgiven for a long list of offenses.
1446. Especially the forgiven part.
1447. That He knows who I've been, but sees me and calls me by who I am for grace.
1448. A luncheon out,
1449. after a morning at the park.
1450. The grin (for nothing) I couldn't shake.
1451. For the step out of the shadows.
1452. Peace.
1453. Warm, sunny spots on the carpet that feel so good to my feet.
1454. Cherries on stems.
1455. Buds on the trees.
1456. Happiness now.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

String on a finger

Don't forget:

how she holds my hand, even in the house through the living room

she has a hard time with "s" and "k" sounds so that basket is bak-set and "The Twisted Whiskers Show" becomes "The Twik-sed Wik-stahs Show"

how she fingers the fringe of her baby blanket

that all week she wakes up wanting Daddy, and this morning when he's home, she holds tight to me

how she tells me I'm the best she ever wanted

how she still fits in my lap cuddled against me

she told me how she loves me more than anyone else in the family does. Lanie said, "I love her the most." And Erin replied, "No, I do!"

how her hair fanned out and her arms spread, her smile filling my heart as I spun her around and around in circles before bed last night. "One more time!" Over and over.

how she sits singing in a big bed at night, surrounded by her favorite plush toys

how little and precious and sweet a four year old is

Friday, March 11, 2011

What's in a name

The world will call us all kinds of things. Hurtful things. Condemning things. Imprisoning things.

Jesus sees us where we are, but he calls us by who we are to become because of grace. And he sets us free.

Writing today at 66 Books.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Fascination street

I spent my summers biking dusty trails. I rode alone a lot, because I liked activities that made me push my limits. I never really liked competing against others. I lived for weekends, rising early and loading a bike on the back of my car; The Cure in my dashboard playing, windows down, road ahead. I had a favorite spot along the Potomac where I'd park my car and pull on my gloves, unload the bike and ride out. Dusty trails. Limits pushed. Scents of summer. Water on my left. Train track on the right. And miles ahead of me.

I miss my bike.

Today, the girls and I grabbed a bite to eat at McDonalds. We dined inside. Fascination Street was playing for our pleasure. Suddenly I felt twenty-five and had incredible cravings for my bike, summer, a cigarette. And I thought how very far away I am from then to now. Crazy stuff, nostalgia.

Monday, March 7, 2011

One thousand gifts and still counting (1419-1444)

bubbles
Jambalaya gifted
movie night with friends
friends who lift up, not tear down
hair bows

melted snow
salad with walnuts and craisins
sunrises
coffee
Friday mornings in a quiet house

sunny skies
garlic
a childhood friend
a photobook gift
soup

that God is my safe place
love that never fails
that He catches tears
Tylenol
carry out

silence
holding her
precious words, "you are the best I ever wanted"
apple trees
grace

Friday, March 4, 2011

How do you say thank you ...

I had just pulled up to our mailbox, grabbed the mail. I got a package today from a friend I've known since we were in diapers. I knew she was sending me something when she asked for my address recently, and didn't want to wait until I was inside the house to see what it was. Parked in the driveway, I opened it, her handwritten card was the first thing:

Courtney, 

I've always thought your photos were so lovely they should be in a book. Now they are. Enjoy.

Love,

Patricia

Then I opened the packaging that held my heart, and wept. My girls in the back seat, speaking gently, "Mommy, it's ok. We love you."

"I'm ok, I'm ok. But ... look what my friend did," I showed them. Kindness that reaches deep places.

The photos of color a blur, wet streaks down my face that wouldn't stop. These past few years of blogging summed up in these pages by the photos I've shared of my kids--a gentle pink cover entitled, appropriately, In This Heart.

Photos just snippets of life frozen, and their stories speeding past me, page after page. I was dizzy with memory: Easters, kittens, scooters, snows, cookies, cuddles, Christmases, Thanksgivings, sprinklers, swings, birthdays, beaches, parks, pizza, and on and on. The end page, a full-size photo of me and my girls. The back cover read:

In his heart, a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9

I am so overwhelmed by such a generous act of kindness, for a friendship that has endured so many years, by lives that do more than intersect but join at the heart and don't let go.

Thank you, dear friend, for your love. 

Three cups of coffee, 240 words, 66 books

She told me things like, “Never shop for shoes in the morning”; “Clean a stove top while it’s still warm”; “We make our own heaven and hell here on Earth.” She had an anecdotal belief in reincarnation. Her theology was hodgepodge and self-designed. Following Jesus was not part of that mix.

Writing today at 66 Books.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Catch all

My tabs are growing and I can't see them all in one frame. I find myself wondering, how long will I keep a link for these cute heart-shaped barrettes on queue for the next project? I have already missed Valentines day.

And during a search to fortify curriculum, I found a couple of sites I want to look at:

homeschool reviews

Veritas Press for classical education (I've nearly wish listed the whole catalog when I got it in my mailbox.)

And this by Sally Clarkson speaks to the militant side of me to chill. I sure felt encouraged by reading that today!

And famous quotes, these by G. K. Chesterton; one of them actually produced an audible laugh from me. Care to take a guess which one?