Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The process of packing

I'm a book junkie.

Now that we're under contract, I've begun the process of weeding out books I don't want to take with me to the next place. I went to our basement to see the stash I had stashed away and I thought how crazy it was to own so many books.
Books don't go as fast as I would like at a yard sale. When we had one last summer I ended up taking most of my books to the library to donate. I suspected I might do the same this time around.

But then I found Cash 4 Books.

Sell Used Books Online - Quick Cash, Free Shipping, Free Quotes!

Oh happy day.

Monday, June 27, 2011

One thousand gifts and still counting (1849-1877)

cardboard boxes gifted
towering armloads of packing paper

places to call home
photo memories
ice cream cake
fresh lettuce from the garden
potatoes roasted with rosemary

mason jars
a cold Coke from a friend
a biscuit made with butter
kids artwork back on the fridge front
sun rays breaking through cloud coverage and Lanie pointing it out

Wipeout (recorded) and popcorn after church
little birdies in our yard
how she hangs from the lowest branch
picnic blankets
finding missing game pieces

a welcome sign in the mail
bunnies in the yard
friends who call and wish well for the coming weeks
cold milk over cereal
her sparkly ballet flats

things to think about
roses in a vase from my sister's garden, fragrant
basil to share over the fence

hearty approval (amen)
a quiet chat with Linda about happiness

Friday, June 24, 2011

Pictures of pictures

 I should be packing now. Sidetracked by pictures and relics in drawers. Flipping through these, remembering the joy of our home when ground was broken. Our weekly road trips to watch it be built. A happy time.

I looked into yesterday's face.

Zach picking out his room. He was eight at the time.
We both gasped at his wardrobe choice.

Inscribing our wall. And yes, those are mom jeans.

I didn't know what the years would look like; the cookie swaps I'd host; the holidays and family gatherings; the sometime-struggles. I didn't know then the babies I'd hold and kiss and cradle or the one I'd mourn; the playdates and playmates we'd have and make; the parties; the late nights reading, writing, dreaming.

I didn't know I'd be a homeschool mom or a Bible-reading Christian. I didn't know how He'd transform this heart in the years, how He'd hold it out in front of me and tell me to look. And that I'd be better for it, hard as it was ... the looking, the heart.

I didn't know of the day we'd start packing to leave.

All I knew then, it was a sunny day and I was in love.

Before the foundation was poured.
I showed Shane the pictures.

"I could cry. Look how young we were," I said.

"You should cry. Look how old we are," he said. Always keeping it real.

I laughed.

Sunny day. And I love him still.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Rumpled, crumpled

Erin walked into my office holding a very rumpled, crumpled, colorful and torn advertisement from My Little Pony. It was a folded insert of products tucked away in the box of a last purchase. She has planned and dreamed and wished these items probably since last Christmas.

"Mommy," she began. "Can you get me this for Christmas?"

She pointed to each picture, "I want this, and this, and this. And can you get me this? You can get this for Lanie." Item after item.

"Is that all?" I asked in amusement, Christmas half a year away.

"And a bar of chocolate," she added.

Then I kissed her.

Monday, June 20, 2011

One thousand gifts and still counting (1834-1848)

kids at dusk in the back yard
dirty, grassy feet
fresh basil from the garden
friends who hug and hold and pray
well wishes
a house contract
chocolate in the freezer

a husband who can be humble
Lindsay, who helped me see the estate

garden beds
their faces to hold and kiss

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Clutching vapor

Erin brought the ponies outside (My Little Pony) with the Fisher Price manger from Christmas. I brought up two laundry baskets of toys from the basement. Toys that had been shelved away during a house sale. Ten months of life packed away.

She held a pony in her hand and said, "My pony's going to take a honk-shoo." Which is code for a snoring nap. Erin likes to imitate Shane's snoring with a rumble in her throat to a shushing "shooo". Our laughter pierced the quiet of the back yard.

The girls ran around tonight with neighbor friends until their feet were dirty and grassy, their skin clammy from the humid night. I got them inside for cool drinks and preparations for bed. I stood in the kitchen with my hand on the refrigerator handle, looking at these two little girls. Looking at them with the backdrop of this kitchen. I wondered if I would remember this moment. If I would remember the details, the color of the counter top, the feel of the fridge handle, the breath-catching gulping sounds of my littles, their running chatter of things to do.

These seconds turning to minutes, slipping away like vapor. My grasping mind clutching desperately: do not forget four ... do not forget eight ... do not forget this slice of wonderful life. A weighty week of wanting to remember it all, knowing soon we'll be painting new walls, making a new home, making new memories. This first house fading, fading; this childhood time like vapor I can't hold. Wishing I could go back and replay everything, everything wonderful.

My throat feels tight.

Friday, June 17, 2011


The blogosphere has been busy. My reader full of posts I haven't read. My inbox full of emails I've struggled to get through at the end of each day. Facebook statuses in the hundreds plus on "most recents". I can't keep up. In fact, for Friday, I reached into the archives for 66 Books to load a post written last year to fill my spot.

I read the words and was reminded of hope.

Quite timely. 

I smile.

These days I've been busy. Busy making buttermilk pancakes at Lanie's request for breakfast. Busy holding her close and cuddling on the couch, overcome by memory after memory of how full this house has been. Busy chasing little ones up stairs at bedtime. Busy watching toy piles on the floor. Busy running my hands through garden herbs. Busy swaying on swings at the backyard playset; listening to girls giggle; feeling breezes brush my skin; breathing deep cool, evening air. Busy walking halls and touching walls and watching rain fall outside these windows. Busy with the business of moving on.

Our house went under contract last Sunday. When I woke up Monday, I realized I didn't have to make my bed that day for a potential home showing (I made it anyway). I didn't even vacuum until today (Thursday). Lunch plates linger till dinner. Laundry waits to be folded. Calendar, mail, routines--forgotten.

I've been too busy doing nothing but slowing down.

Savoring these remaining weeks in the first home my husband and I bought together, started a family, brought home babies, painted walls, hosted parties, and dreamed dreams. A place where I lived-loved-laughed, cried, raged, sang, grieved, danced, hoped, labored, feared, planned, and prayed.

Busy trusting. Busy loving. Busy remembering.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

One thousand gifts and still counting (1826-1833)

1826. kids that draw picture gifts
1827. backyard swings and cool day breezes
1828. sunshine
1829. Beckie's smile, shoulder, hugs and prayers
1830. for peace beyond understanding
1831. small victories in little steps
1832. a cup of coffee
1833. the flood of good memories making my heart burst

Friday, June 10, 2011


A quick moment between friends, I lifted clasped hands to show her the wound. My eyes brimmed with tears. I covered my heart again to slow the bleed.

"You should give it to God," she said.

I looked at her.

"I don't think I know what that means. How do you give this to God? I want to. It sounds good. But how do you do that?"

Writing today at 66 Books.

Monday, June 6, 2011

One thousand gifts and still counting (1781-1825)

for the moment (and those that lead to it) a year ago today that changed my life
strawberries from our garden
her little hands, juice stained and sticky
strawberry summer cake
better days

sandy beach
fish kisses on feet
cookies to share
the bluest sky
a Coke for the ride home

heavy sleep
friends over to play
book lists and summer reading programs
a sturdy tote bag

Erin's tears
her nighttime prayer (thankful for Mommy, please don't ever let her die)
her heart
that kind of love
strawberry stains on her shirt

tall grasses wagging in the wind
cool mornings and long sleeves
aloe vera gel
pony tails and braids
giggles on swings

French vanilla coffee
sprouty grass
a reply from Japan
glimpses of him in his daughter's face
Princess puzzles

helpers in the garden
sugar snap pea tendrils clinging and climbing
the writers on 66 Books
good soup (chicken tortilla)

Aimee's prayers
her hug and smile
the smell of mint on my fingers
kids in the garden
pennies and dimes on the ground for little scavengers to find

holding his hand when it's too much
sharing a cinnamon crunch bagel with Erin, rather she shared with me
a tall book stack
a park walk with Toni
summer smells on kids

Saturday, June 4, 2011

At your own risk

An abundance of strawberries and a pretty picture were all it took to convince me I should make the Strawberry Summer Cake from Smitten Kitchen. We had strawberries from the store and strawberries from the garden. I hulled them and sliced them. I whisked dry ingredients and creamed butter and sugar.

I poured doubled batter into two pans and topped them with strawberries in mosaic. Erin sat on the counter top beside me while I worked, and when I had sufficiently covered the surface of the cakes, her sweet fingers were free to select from the remaining berries in the bowl. She made quite a show of it. She has the stained shirt to prove it.

Two cakes came out of the oven. We sent one home with a friend who had come over to play for the afternoon. The other cake was ours. It smelled like strawberry jam. The surface of slightly sunken berries, and the sugar topping originally scattered now a crisp layer of only wonderful.

After dinner, Erin carried little white plates of cake to Lanie and Shane. And this is how it looked, in words:

Shane ate his slices efficiently and quietly, making the most and best use of his time. He ate three slices (two at the table and one in secret as he loaded up the dishwasher).

Lanie praised and gushed over every bite. She wanted another piece. And one for breakfast the next day. It was THE BEST CAKE EVER. She had one and a half slices.

At each forkful, I appreciated the delicate crisp of sugar breaking at the surface under gentle pressure, the juxtaposition of berries in the wedge, their tenderness and yield from the lower temperature baking over an hour, the golden crust. I ate my slice (and later, Erin's).

Erin eagerly went to work. After a bite she said, "This isn't very good." She pulled berry from batter and determined, "This is the worst cake I've ever had. Mommy, don't make this anymore."

Be warned: make at your own risk.

(I think it's completely worth it. And I will be baking two more cakes in the morning to gift to others.)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Surf's up ... a link list

The various states of mind of mine that I would stash these links away for future surfing. Personally, I'm surprised there isn't more chocolate involved.

Flower pot cake. A la Martha Stewart. I wonder how many hearts her ideas have made happy.
Balsamic roasted red potatoes.
Candied popcorn.
Chicken, sausage, asparagus, mushroom, pasta.
Roasted butternut squash lasagna.
Individual baked eggs. Jodie made these for the worship team, and they gobbled them all up.
Bacon quiche with cream cheese. Because I repeatedly have to search for it and always forget to write it out.
Quiche motherload

Friendship, encouragement.
Weighing words.
Grace on a bad day.
Knowing him, not the plan.

Miscellaneous mind wandering:
All this and the kitchen sink.
Or a door knob.
School lunches around the world.  

Key words

My Friday morning temperament meets God’s unchanging character.

Writing today at 66 Books.