Monday, February 25, 2013

One thousand gifts and still counting (3910-3922)

trim installed
a room nearly completed
a to-do list for spring
sleepover friends for Lanie
footie pajamas on little feet

crazy sock day
a prayer shawl
clean laundry
friends in the trenches

that I don't have to be perfect
and I am (still) loved
a Father who searches (for) and celebrates lost things found

Monday, February 18, 2013

One thousand gifts and still counting (3885-3909)

heart-shape cookie cutters
and chocolate cookies
packages to deliver
and happy hearts
a red package on our doorstep
chocolates, gifted

Erin gifting Shane the biggest box of chocolates she could find at the store
hearts scattered across the floors
friends over for sledding
new friendships
the difference here makes

a pup sleepover
good friends
school room flooring prep: subflooring down



Our house guest, Daisy

woods walking

snake stompers
white sangria with Linda on a Friday night dinner
the sound of a functioning nail gun

DIY projects, flooring by Shane
woods walking in snow
my ugly snake stompers
winter savory
a coffee invite 
school room/dance floor
new inscriptions
puppy love
this life

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Written on the heart

I stood there looking at the canvas.

"I really want to write on the floors," I said.

"I was wondering if you would," he replied.

I grabbed Sharpies, and with Bible open, wrote the verse that we felt spoke to us about this home, years ago when God gave us the urge to move: Deuteronomy 8:6-9. Two dogs wiggled and wagged around me.

The kids joined me in writing our names and ages and little pictures. Then Shane put down the underlayment and began to nail the boards down.

"I'm going to dance with you on that floor," I said.

He laughed.

Thanks, God, for bringing us here.


If you told me years ago that I would be living in the woods, loving DIY, own a hound dog and hosting a puppy sleepover in my house, I would have laughed.

The kids have loved having a puppy around for a few days while family friends are vacationing. I tell you, labs are wonderful. Finding myself wondering if we're going to become a two-dog family someday. I told Shane he should have just said yes to a baby ...

Chocolate heart cookies

Since Lanie was a little one, we've baked chocolate heart cookies for Valentines Day and delivered them to neighbors. We did it in the before, and we do it here in the after too.

It's our second Valentines Day here. Woke up early to write for 66 Books, then started on the dough for the cookies. Baked the morning away, packaged cookies, set off for deliveries with the girls before an afternoon of kinder friends over for sledding (we keep snow longer from the woods).

My kids felt excited to take gifts to neighbors, and house to house we went leaving red-and-white packages on doorsteps.

Driving home from the library yesterday, I noticed a red package at our front door.

"Lanie, go see what that is," I said.

She ran across the front yard to the door and picked up a heart-shaped box and red envelope. Her smile beamed bright across her face, and in that moment my heart felt swollen with gratitude.

I wondered of years past if the families we've given to ever felt that kind of happiness at being remembered. My girls have learned to find joy in the giving, but this year, we were all blessed in receiving.

(Thanks, God.)

Monday, February 11, 2013

One thousand gifts and still counting (3866-3884)

laughter that sounds like big drippy plunks into a full bucket
Tuesdays and Thursdays with Viviana and Erin
Valentines to make and give
hair color kit in a local store
last-row worship

running into an old neighbor
that she stopped to chat us
and hug back
her light at the end of the tunnel

the hammering of new flooring going down
finding a great DIY blog
new inspiration
reminders to serve where I am
invitations to celebrate with others

a bedroom in pink singe
friends who pray
woodpeckers in the woods
sounds of spring on a frosty morning

Friday, February 8, 2013

He calls me daughter

David called me last week to invite me to his house for their Super Bowl party. And while I am sports-ignorant, I said yes because (as my kids would see it) David and Anita give fabulous parties. And because (as I see it) I love David and Anita.
The spread at their house was a feast--cupcakes and cakes frosted purple, cookies, brownies, fruit salads, veggie salads, and a variety of pasta dishes. I sat on the main level with the women, who hooted and hollered when the players scored.

"Are the guys downstairs?" I asked. "How come they're so quiet?"

"They are in the Man Cave. It's soundproof," someone told me.

At some point, David came upstairs, and when he saw me, he smiled. He sat down next to me, and for the next hour plus, we held hands and watched football.

He had been sick nearly the whole month of January. His breathing is easily labored. His hands shook and trembled in mine. I held them tighter and rubbed them. If I had looked into his eyes, I would have cried.

(When my grandmother was in the nursing home and didn't remember who I was, I noticed how her hands shook and trembled. I remember rubbing lotion onto her old, dry skin--this woman I loved who no longer knew my name.)

I sat next to this man who calls me daughter and holds my hand. He talked to me, hushed, about coming to terms with his physical limits, and how he is dying. He rubbed my hands back. Spoke tenderly to my kids.

After half-time, I packed the kids up under snow flurries to get them home and ready for bed--Sunday night, before a co-op school day. David walked me to the door, watched me to the car, called for me to be careful. I waved back to him cheery, love on my lips.

Went home, and cried.

Monday, February 4, 2013


I ordered some books from the library system in another county. However, I forgot to change the default pick-up location from our old zip code to a new branch nearer to us. So all the books I ordered went to the before.

We went to the nearer library after piano lessons of Friday, because the library just plain rocks--and I loaded up on a tote full. Then I drove by the old library because I had books waiting for us there. I turned onto a road and Lanie speaks up, "Hey! We're somewhere. I just don't remember where."

And then, "Our old library!"

How many weekly jaunts did we make here? How many read-alouds on the couch in the children's section? How many books did we check out from here? And how it carried us from board books to chapter books, from the kid side to the bigger kid side. The sweet Beatrix Potter collection sat still book ended on the information desk counter.

"Remember these, Erin?" I asked.

Both girls gushed over their "favorite" library, and I knew that it was the memories we made here that made it so special. It was such a part of our routine.

As we walked into the kids' section, I spied Lanie's kindergarten teacher from the old co-op we attended, and Lanie called out to her like she was in a dream, "Mrs. Garrison?"

Mrs. Garrison got up to greet us and gave Lanie a hug. The emotion on Lanie's face made me breathe deep. What love.

We talked quite a while, and it was lovely, and she was lovely, and I had new admiration for her and her love of littles.

The kids asked if they could check out books there, and I said yes. I took a picture of the monster in the window. Glad at how some things haven't changed.

And then we went home.

One thousand gifts and still counting (3848-3865)

good books
and book studies with friends

snowflakes and flurries
laughter over coffee with Nicole
church workshops
hugs to friends
and meeting up with screen friends

plans canceled
a full day in kindergarten
old roads to the old library
seeing Lanie's kindergarten teacher from years ago
how she hugged Lanie

a coffee delivery
laundry piles
a letter in the mail from Gina
David's hand to hold during Super Bowl
and how Anita loves on my kids