Thursday, October 31, 2013

Art project

Erin's class did trees in art. Each one really bears a unique expression of the child's personality. I sent it to Shane and remarked that Erin's is in the middle.

"It looks like our yard!" he said.

Crazy leaves, a constant rain of color and crunch.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


I've known of her just over a year, becoming acquainted this fall. There is a sadness in her eyes, and I know why.

Last week I felt a nudge to do a volunteer day for her. I had just finished up my own requirements, and I offered to take a day. The look on her face was unbelief. I had never seen her so happy. She doesn't take help easily, doesn't like to impose, or inconvenience. Even last night she called me to tell me she would take half the day and that she felt bad. I said no.

I got a call from her this morning that her daughter had spiked a high fever. And I thought about how awesome God is. That he knew what was in store for her this week, and covered all the bases so she wouldn't be feeling torn and stressed last minute, that I was in queue to cover her class and her volunteer day, so she could stay home with her child.

I got a text from her later on that made me tear up. I never imagined what this would mean to her on a deeper level, and that it could restore something from a former time, even just a day. 

Sometimes acts of service don't bear an immediate fruit, if any at all. (Don't I know that!)

And sometimes God takes the seemingly smallest offerings and does the most amazing things.

Monday, October 28, 2013

One thousand gifts and still counting (4901-4942)

for chalk drawings on the patio pavers
the crunch of leaves beneath my feet
the woodland scents
food in the fridge
hot fires in the wood stove

early mornings
the first/second graders craft centers
pumpkin streusel cake
to share with a neighbor
her hug

Holy Spirit shivers at church
Julie by video chat
Wednesday in Bible class
that busy, busy, busy day
and the blessings received I never anticipated

Jennifer's smile
new pajamas en route for the kids
a wave in the lobby from the boy in math class
Viviana and her mom for playdate
that turned into dinner

dollars that get stretched
how You provide
blankets gifted
the wrestle with the meaning of community
how You expand my world

a Saturday walk with Erica
the wooded private road in fall
hot tea with Nicole
a date with Denise
a yes to Thanksgiving

laughter with Linda at the table
my very sweet hound dog
socks on my feet
and gloves for my hands
the chimney sweep guy who remembered us from two years ago

learning how service is also worship
first roasted marshmallows of the season
woodsmoke smells
empanadas for dinner
how she adds a skip and a hop when she walks

and that she sings while I dry her hair
a new pair of snake stompers (with pink lining)

Monday, October 21, 2013

One thousand gifts and still counting (4871-4900)

a tree to adorn with festivity
strands of white lights to loop over limbs
a rainbow's spread of bandanas across the table

and burlap to cover side tables moonlighting as benches
a beautiful sunny day

Zach R. by phone taking our pizza order
his "see you tomorrow" to our goodbye
a bag of costumes on loan from a friend
sweet faces around the table

a good list of games

and a great group of girls
their joy
and how at times we didn't notice the chill
woodsmoke smells around the house
and noses that notice it

white light on the tree at dusk
a reminder of a happy day
David walking through my door
his hug and kiss to me
his presence in my life

Denise in the mix
her servant's heart
our years of friendship
Jeneane in my house and heart
leaves everywhere

the bonfire burning bright from a neighbor's yard
full moon light across the floor
night runs with Lanie
sneaky ice cream out
sudden rain storms

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Good times

blindfolded game trying to get donuts hanging from the tree

my sides hurt from laughing so hard

these kids were the best sports


good times
Lanie had a few friends over for a home-grown party. I'm so thankful for Pinterest, because I don't do this kind of thing very naturally.

I searched "tween party games" and got all kinds of great ideas. We did a scavenger hunt and the kids could use cell phones to grab pictures of stuff they couldn't bring back ... like frogs and squirrels. We did the blindfolded game to find donuts hanging from the tree. And then a fun round of "pass the bag", which is like musical chairs with a bag of costumes. (If you're holding the bag when the music goes off, you have to reach in and put something on.) Cute photo opp at the end. I think everyone had a good time--which is always the hope. Finished off with a white elephant game with goody bags (Lanie's all-time favorite thing and must-do activity).

Lanie will take away special memories from today, certainly punctuated with exclamation.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Leaf season

Spring is a season. Fall is a season. Childhood is a season. The terrible twos are a season. Some types of depression, insecurity, and anxiety last a season.

Souls are eternal.

Monday, October 14, 2013

One thousand gifts and still counting (4848-4870)

stunning sunsets from my room with a view
my house lit with light and life
coffee with a friend at Starbucks

how time flies when I'm with her
shopping with Erin--she is delightful
grocery runs with Lanie--meaningful chats about life
rain, rain, rain
a blanket for these shoulders

and socks for my feet
hot tea
fall leaves
Marshall and his sisters' sweet faces on the fridge

a good friend in Christy
a blanket on the bed
how my dog runs and runs and runs
a friend over for lunch
yummy candle scents in the house

burlap for a table
a little hoodie red jacket
how she plays in the rain with her umbrella
checker games around the table
drop-in visit with a friend

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


First sweater of the season, and I would have been happy with a jacket too.

Grayish skies and a chilly wind.

Nicole over for lunch between classes. Hot tea, sweet. Bread toasting in a warm oven, salted butter. Baked potato soup with cheddar and bacon. A gooey banana chocolate bread that scented the house.

I love fall.

A first grade art class, work splays across a table.

"Mama, do you know which one is mine?" she asks.

And I do: the one that blossoms happy and full. She shows it off at home in our school room.

"You know trees because you live in the woods," I smile at her. Her picture rains life. Abundant. And change.

Rain in the forecast. I welcome it. Happy thoughts of warm mugs of wonderful, and woodsmoke smells. Socks on my feet. Comfy clothes.

Lanie requests pumpkin streusel cake for her actual birthday.

Yellow tree

Dressed 80s and blowing bubbles

A playdate pile of nuts gathered by elementary squirrels named Cara and Erin

Pines shedding

There is no place I'd rather be than here, and in this very moment in time.

I hug her close, "This is the last Wednesday I'll hug you at ten."

The leaves smell like fall and the air is cool.

Yellow tree. And reds. A rust landscape. And sticks. Pine needles. And lately, the most incredible sunsets--deep oranges, pinks and turquoise skies.

"It feels like fall," I say happily at dinner.

Shane feigns great dramatic displeasure. I head out with camera and try to capture the colors, lured by skyfire from my room with a view. It's cold and I have no idea how to use a camera at dusk.

I turn back, down the driveway, and see my house lit bright with wild warmth.

Monday, October 7, 2013


Someone is on the cusp of eleven.

I don't know when I started the tradition or that it would be, in fact, a tradition, but I learned later that tradition mattered to her. (Maybe on some level it matters to us all, tradition, that is.) This was reinforced yesterday when she said to me, "You didn't make fluffy buns for me on two different birthdays. Once when you forgot. And another time when it was on a school day ... it didn't feel like my birthday when you didn't make them."


Truth be told, I'm pretty sure I didn't forget. I just didn't get my ingredients together in time. God help me. This year, how could I not, especially with us being home that day? Note to self, take the butter out the night before.

Fluffy buns were a Pinky Dinky Do phrase in my attempt to get her to eat something new for breakfast in a time that seems forever ago. A quick drizzle of vanilla frosting made it an anticipated birthday favorite. If she doesn't make them for her own kids some day, she'll be sure to tell them about it ... them ... itthem ... quite likely including the two occasions I didn't make them ... it ... whatever.

Found a bunch of recipes here for the popover project, so who knows which one will be on our menu. But one of them will, since it wouldn't feel her birthday without them. It. Them.

One thousand gifts and still counting (4813-4847)

the crunch of fallen leaves beneath my feet
2 cords delivered and stacked
the smell of fresh wood

a sore upper back
yard arms
a playful dog running around

that this is home to her
and to us

pumpkin pie for breakfast
and a sister to sing to me
a great day at co-op
happiness that bubbles over
celebrating life with my family

for a husband who has compassion
and listens when I call
homeschooling my kids
friends over to play
a cold Coke

a Friday playdate
a night library run with Lanie
yellow mums
David and Anita
pretty nail polish

a nature walk
a Friday night picnic
on the living room floor
a pretty country drive
texting with a college friend

so many birds twittering that it sounded like rushing water
going on a sunny day hunt do find them with Erin
a read aloud on the picnic blanket in the back yard

a bike ride with my daughter, who is now as hooked as I am on it
a butterfly transformed

its flight into sunny skies
and a 6-year-old's heart and hands cheering it on

Sunday, October 6, 2013

On your left

A foggy morning, loading up bikes. Erica was out of town, so Lanie offered to ride with me.

We put 13 miles behind us. Loaded back up and drove home to sunny skies.

Girl power.

Came home for lunch to find later that Erin's caterpillar had emerged into a butterfly. Gorgeous sunny day for its first flight into the world. We set it free to warm temps, and stood in the driveway and clapped and cheered.

Good life.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


She showed up at my house yesterday with a pumpkin pie. (She even grew the pumpkins.)

And then she sang over me.

There's something about birthdays, but especially about song, that really gets to me.

For the Lord your God is living among you.
    He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
    With his love, he will calm all your fears.
    He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. Zephaniah 3:17 NLT

There's a long back-story to this that I can only express in a sigh. But just want to say, there is a light that shines straight to the heart when someone looks you in the eye, and sings over you.

Of course I teared up. Crier that I am. I hugged her, thankful.

David and Anita's card in the mail--to a daughter. Neighbors texting. Kids at school wishing. And a Facebook party that's always a delight. An amazing day in high school that ran an hour over time. Shane grabbed dinner on the way home. And the kids wanted to go immediately to cake and presents. 

Sometimes I wish on someone else's flame. But yesterday, I felt I had all I ever could want. So I offered up thanks.

David called to talk to me. Told me soulful, intimate love, from heart to heart that left me crying. He can say those things, and I can hear them--and I know that not many people share like that, making this a gift in itself. I don't think there's ever been a person who has loved me as much. I was a mess by the time Anita got on the phone.

"You have two dads, you know," Anita said. 

And sweet friends. Grateful, daily.