Monday, January 28, 2013

One thousand gifts and still counting (3819-3847)

kindergarteners and their sweet hearts
no matter how loud and giggly they are

snow days
hot chocolate
Erin reading to me on the couch
by the fire
cherishing who she is

Friday errands with my kids
lunch at Wegman's
Beckie on the phone
friends who pray
words that teach and minister

a piano teacher's hand on my shoulder
opportunities for grace given and received
the last cookie in the freezer
bottles of cold water
camera 3

Amy in the lobby
sunshine on the back of my legs
a season for diminuendo
books to read
challenges to face, and never alone, never forsaken

taco night
full moon in the woods
laughter (over salsa jars)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Diminuendo

It's been a busy month.

At times it felt like bootcamp, especially last week. I think I was torn in three directions. This is what happens when your word for the year decides to kick you in the butt. (Shall we just say, it wasn't for the act of service, but the conditions under which I'd be serving ... and shall we just say, I WAS ON MY WAY TO FAILING MISERABLY. Glad for a friend who gives me what-for and tells me to DO IT ANYWAY.)

Luckily, at church this weekend, the pastor talked about how difficulties are the way we grow. And I know it. In fact, sometimes when it's all going great, I'm thankful for sure, but I think of how close I had been to God in the struggle.

I stood in the church lobby today waiting for the crowd to thin out before I made my way to the car. I stood in a sunny spot by the window. The sun felt so good and warm on my legs. I recognized lots of people, and turned my head before eye contact was made. I remember thinking how I wanted to be invisible--like it is a superpower.

Don't see me. Don't see me.

Diminuendo. Getting softer. Quieting my voice, and softening my presence. Because sometimes you just want to disappear.

Someone did see me. She came to me and pulled me out of invisible. We talked about homeschooling, and before I knew it, I was handing her my contact information to get our families together.

Then someone else saw me, and encouraged me for camera work today and taught me a few tips.

Lastly, someone from 66 Books saw me. We talked and promised to pray for each other.

She hugged me. Twice.

Then I went home.

Monday, January 21, 2013

One thousand gifts and still counting (3795-3818)

a week off of school (closed for flu!)
leisurely mornings
flavored coffee
home fires burning
and some milder days
to pull weeds in the garden

library runs with Lanie
honest talks about forgiveness and thoughts
and Chipotle surprises for dinner
a floor demolished
for brothers and sisters in Christ who pursue Him tirelessly

and a blood sister whose call brought me to tears
thankful for her, missing her
talks on thankfulness with a daughter
Bible studies
and new writers for guest spots on the blog

a game board project with Lanie
and the fun playing it on the kitchen floor
hot chocolate with whipped cream
little hands to hold
books for read alouds

cold, clean water
filling up on it
wedding pictures up on a wall (a first after ump-teen years)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Upon a heart

I'm usually the one with my nose in a book. In fact, I had a book with me yesterday and was quite ready to stick my nose in it when I eyed a woman with a Thirty-one bag.

"Thirty-one," I said. "I have some of those too."

Our conversation took off from there, cheery and fine. I ended up getting her name and a recommendation for a dentist.

Later on, another woman's cheery face was in mine. Several of us were talking about life and second chances and the opportunity for change in the face of great struggle--the hope of numbering days. She stayed behind longer, and I wondered why. I looked closer at her smiling face and saw that her eyes were watery.

"Are you ok?" I asked. "You look like you want to cry."

And she told me the story. The woman she had just met had had a heart transplant. The heart donated by a young twenty-something who had an aneurism. How this woman with a new heart had wanted to contact the donor's family to say thanks, but that the idea was difficult, if not awkward. However, in time, the donor family contacted her--this recipient of their daughter's heart. They arranged a meeting, and the first thing the mother did was place her hand upon the woman's chest to feel her daughter's heart beating.

That's when I cried too. Thinking of my own children, whose hearts I've felt beating within their chests, listened to its whispers in a cuddle, and imagining that life-organ giving life to someone else.

"The recipient received a birthday card in September," she went on to say, "but her birthday wasn't in September--it was the daughter's birthday."

This woman hugged me goodbye, sending me off with happy new year wishes.

I cried the drive home, thankful I hadn't stuck my nose in a book that day.

Monday, January 14, 2013

One thousand gifts and still counting (3772-3794)

sunny days
lunch with a friend and her kids
a baby to cuddle, sweet and perfect
a hug goodbye, and then another

a Panera bible study group
and a texting friend who lingers in her conversation
books on hold at the library
tears that started on page 70
Nella's smile

a class of teenagers
medieval literature
kindergarten hugs
an afternoon nap
mild temperatures

marshmallows to roast on a Saturday night
Lanie's whistle of a worship song, glorious
Amy next to me in the almost front-and-center
the very good things that happen in scripture reading
burrito bowls for dinner

a floor, torn up
a Saturday chat with Kathy
that felt like a hug
for the women in my life

Monday, January 7, 2013

One thousand gifts and still counting (3715-3771)

Driving home from the ice cream shop Saturday night, Shane and I talked about life before and after. And through it, words of work (and joy!), a thankfulness filled me to tears.

"I'm so grateful," I spoke into darkness.

for a year of transformation
tractor rides
field fragrance
buttercups
mulch mountains
tarps for hauling

a do-rag
and leather garden gloves
bleeding hearts
impatiens
pine trees and cones

achy legs
and stronger arms
opportunities for hospitality
vulnerability
grace and kindness

gifts for my children
and the splash of blue in summer
wild berries
little feet running bare
my children's freedom

a pool slide
and inner tubes
snakes in the gardens
and boots, my snake-stompers
Joel's visits

time with David and Anita
closeness with Linda
a new community
a play set up and scrubbed new
and the newness I feel within and around me

living with less
and yet having so much more (abundant life!)
this old house
and tea on the patio
song in the wilderness (peepers and owls, the hawks and mama birds)

for making our family stronger
through weakness
infusions of joy and perseverance
and purpose restored
kindergarten

Nella
woods walks
nighttime skies
moonlight
woodsmoke

learning a new language
for hatred that drove me closer to Your presence
and the joy and abundance of life in You
the sweetness at the bottom of a bitter cup
Shane

and how I've probably eaten less chocolate this year than in the last five
(but still thankful for chocolate too)
cookies to gift
and a table for twelve
for renovations (heart and home)

and Your goodness and love that last forever