Monday, October 31, 2011

One thousand gifts and still counting (2465-2486)

"If you have not suffered, you have not lived, for to persist on this earth is to endure the brokenness of things, perhaps chiefly the brokenness of ourselves. But still a sweetness blows from heaven, grace in the small things." Tony Woodlief, Somewhere More Holy.

2465. Seconds of warm apple pie
2466. Mustard hearts in a turkey sandwich
2467. Muffins hung on a doorknob
2468. These girls swirling and twirling to catch leaves raining down on them
2469. Free big rocks

2470. Friends to lift and haul
2471. Seeing Jewel out in the world
2472. Stickers to make pumpkin faces on Happy Meal buckets
2473. Holding her when she cries and I can't understand a word she says
2474. New neighbors, big smiles, coffee lovers
2475. Lunch with Reggie
2476. Candles on the mantle
2477. Classical music she selects for her dancing
2478. Drive-by memories on the way to pumpkin patch
2479. Round, orange pumpkins

2480. Cheesy rolls and honey garlic butter
2481. The difference here makes
2482. Beatrix Potter book reads in an oversized chair
2483. A mouse catching cat
2484. Spackle
2485. A fall ride through the country
2486. New firsts

Friday, October 28, 2011

Field trip

We went to the pumpkin patch today.

The end.

Monday, October 24, 2011

One thousand gifts and still counting (2426-2464)

reusable shopping bags
Lysol cleaner
candle tarts
wind chimes
the tattooed guy at Hair Cuttery

pool closed for the season
a firewood stand
oh, those wool socks
clean sheets
hot shower

a friend's tears on the phone
hard talks with a 9 year old
Tuesday play dates
sugar cookies with sprinkles

broccoli with Ranch
chamomile tea
a clean home to welcome him
kids at the door with cheerful greetings
the fullness of marriage

manners reminders with littles
things to anticipate
rough starts turned smooth
the understanding that it's not always going to feel good, but be for my good
God's faithfulness

bug spray
piano music
kids in the leaf pile
Explode the Code in the mail
tickles at bedtime in her cookie pajamas

my little girl in a fluffy comforter
weekend yard work
Lanie's helpful hands
southbound flying geese in V formation
the cat gazing out the window

glitter spray
friends around the kitchen table
talks with grown-ups
making new friends

Friday, October 21, 2011

Words like music

Where now is the Lord?
He is in the pages of 2 Kings 2 commanding chariots of fire.
He is in the lion’s den, closing jaws.
He is in the majestic song of psalms–stooping down, lifting up.
He is the splendor and the mighty breath that overcomes.
Where now is the Lord? And I train my eyes daily to find him … in the good as well as the trials.

Writing today at 66 Books.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fall day 2011

Beautiful fall day. Cloudless sky. Leaves ablaze. And we got to enjoy it all together.

One thousand gifts and still counting (2395-2425)

Facebook chats and emails with Cindy
wool socks gifted for these feet
oranges, reds and yellows in the trees
cookies in the freezer
Christmas presents delivered by UPS

pictures framed and on the wall
a pink bedroom
a soft mattress
roots touched up
leaf piles

Denise over for dinner
late night chatting
missing her as soon as she left
Lanie's phone call to tell me she's nine
pink napkins and paper plates

Marshall and Reagan's galloping jumps to hug me
a panda shirt on a little girl
good friends for lunch
a gorgeous day
kids in the driveway

home projects getting done
glass doorknobs
an awesome shopping morning with Erin
her little orange hoodie dress
picking out gifts for her big sister

the way the wind sounds in the trees
crows cawing
the woodpecker flying through the woods
full-ish moons
the writers on 66 Books

Saturday, October 15, 2011


She likes "fluffy buns" in the morning on this day ... a little tradition we started when she was four? Oh gosh, my memory. But every year, she requests and I make them. The little things she looks forward to and will become a fond memory ... something special.

"You were born at 5:59 p.m.," I told her one day. "Cuddle me one last time before you turn nine?"

She said she'd sit in my arms when the clock rolled over, as long as Erin didn't push her out first.

And these days ... the fancy of imagination: cake picking, gift wishing, the planning of it all, and the daily countdown.

"Mom, I'm going to be nine in twelve days ..."

"Mom, I'm going to be nine in eight days ..."

"Mom, I'm going to be nine tomorrow."

I still see her baby face if I look closely enough.

It goes so fast.

Happy birthday, Lanie.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Tinkerbell house

I remember the day I first stepped through the door of this house. I was smitten the moment my feet touched the slate floors. Ok, maybe a little bit before that ... but the love was cinched for me then.

We explored the rooms and walked the halls. The girls scurried up the stairs, and as Erin turned the corner she found the Tinkerbell room.

"This is my room," she said firmly.

The months that followed, this house had been known as the Tinkerbell house.

Our place wasn't even on the market. And while we stayed noncommittal and kept our eyes open for other opportunities, we somehow kept coming back to this place time and again--as much as we didn't want to invest our hearts until a contract was in hand. 

Last Sunday, I took down the Tinkerbell wall decals and relocated them in preparation of the pink paint job this weekend. Furniture moved to the center of the room, covered in old sheets. Curtains off the windows. Shane stood next to me as I rattled off my plans for placing furniture and picture frames.

"This is where Erin is going to grow up," he said into the quiet. It stills me. "This is where she's going to be a teenager. She'll probably have posters on the wall of bands she likes."

It sinks in. And the thought of time, fleeting, grips me. These Tinkerbell decals, her fascination with them, her instant claim to this space ... her room.

Today I primed the walls.

"Tinkerbell flew off the walls, into my closet!" she joked. She sat outside the bedroom door and chatted me, played with toys.

I was grateful not to lose the moment, that sweetness of her, as we settle into this house--the Tinkerbell house.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Photo overload. Couldn't remember where I put the memory card reader, but found it today. Otherwise, I would have tucked these in corresponding thanks from the gratitude list.

I put this picture on my desktop, and it makes me smile.

Here are the others that bring a smile to this heart.

pumpkins in the kitchen window

little girl wearing mama's garden hat

praying mantis on rust-colored mums

apples from Joel

rainbow pants

beginning rider

little hands

button heart

big smiles

that face

sparkly shoes


a sunny day for installing sconces

sun peeking through

Tinkerbell decals

picture gifts

fall craft

found decorations for a white bay window

fat, old cat

fall wreath

the garden

Since the sun was out for a few days, we took advantage of outdoor tasks and play. But on this rainy day, it was perfect for library book reads, the "farmers market" scented candle burning in the kitchen, homemade cookies still warm from baking and a cold glass of milk, and baked potato soup.

Monday, October 10, 2011

One thousand gifts and still counting (2351-2394)

a friend to help take down wallpaper
a found scraper tool in a garage
a big leaf-rake net for the pool
dinner "yes"-es
a festive season

sunny skies
Pandora music stations
apple pie
a girl who talks in exclamation (who sometimes reminds me of myself when I think in ALL-CAPS)
Erin's exuberant kiss throwing

friendly faces at the library
pink paint for a little girl's room
big trash bags
the guy at the pool shop who is studying hospitality
M&Ms out of their reach

a lizard
the big preying mantis on the rusty-colored mums
adding new plants to a garden
a one-on-one playdate with a friend
hot cider

new yard gloves
heated back wraps
an early homecoming
more glimpses of his smile
Erin's first bike with training wheels

good covers on the bed
a pillow
a bedroom set for Erin
primed picture frames for a new room
good weather days for yard work

the sound of raking leaves
their crunch under my feet
how they smell on a sunny day
the long (old) work gloves that reach my forearm so the wolf spider wouldn't!
plants transplanted

sesame bread
friends around the table
Friday night open door
new outdoor sconces
a cranberry wreath

Christmas net lights to decorate our yard
little girls who remembered the promise
a free pastry from Panera
Oobi episodes online for a tired little girl

Saturday, October 8, 2011

One more thing

Tucked Erin in tonight and snuggled with her for a good chunk of time since bedtime brings about all sorts of ailments: tummy aches, hurt knees, feeling sick. She then proceeded to ask tons of questions in the shadows. Things like: how can the eyebrows move on the puppets on Sesame Street? Do the people who do the voices get tired of making their voices sound that way? How come the puppets are furry? And more ... how does Sporticus's house stay up in the air? How can he and Stephanie dance so fast and her wig doesn't come off? Why doesn't Robbie Rotten brush his teeth? Do the puppets really eat candy? Is the candy real?

On and on. I love how her mind works, impressed she gives it so much thought and at the same time convicted she might be watching too much TV ...

"It's time to be quiet now," I told her.

"Ok, Mommy," she said. "But just one more thing?"


"I love you ... and why is Big Bird so big?"

Friday, October 7, 2011

Hand me down

Erin got Lanie's old bike yesterday, outfitted with training wheels. I was in a garden preparing to plant mums when I heard the assembly sounds, air pumping into tires, and the happy shrieks.

"Mom! Erin has training wheels!"

Shane rounded the corner and explained Erin didn't want to get on the bike. Didn't want anyone to watch her. We waited.

"Mom! Erin's riding the bike!"

Lanie helped her little sister on the bike and kept a steady hand on her back to comfort. Erin peddled. Smiling. Beaming.

She cuddled in my arms this morning, decked out in brown cookie pajamas. She was grinning in daydream. Then said, "Mama, after breakfast, I want to ride my bike!"

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Kissing bandit

Lanie at work on chapter nine of the spelling/vocabulary book. I grab a quick shower while she is occupied.

I hear the thumpety-thump of little feet prancing across my bedroom floor and into the bathroom. I cannot see through frosty glass doors. But I hear the victory cry of the kissing bandit as she cries out exuberantly,


I giggle.

"Muah!" I call back.

And she is gone.

Monday, October 3, 2011

One thousand gifts and still counting (2326-2350)

the view of leaves falling from the dining room window
blue painter's tape
music from Pandora and songs from great days
a window primed and painted
socks on my feet

coffee pods and candle gifted in passing in a church parking lot
worship with a friend
a hug from an old neighbor
Joel on my doorstep with a bag of apples in hand

his wife's recipe for apple pie
her Facebook chats
how I'm falling in love again with this place
a bag of chocolate chip cookies left behind
friends over to play on my birthday

baked potato soup
guests at the dinner table
a basket gifted full
open doors
mums for my garden

the birthday song
a Sunday drop-by from Dad and Linda
hot chocolate and tea around the table
picture frames for the living room
the feeling of home