Friday, January 30, 2015

Friday in the woods

This afternoon I went woods walking with Erin.

looking up, you'd hardly notice the chill, it's so beautiful
Tallest trees. I love the woods.

Of my two, she's the most eager to boot up and get cold. Lanie's more of a book-by-the-fire kind of girl.

 She was helping me scout locations for a photo shoot next weekend.

She walked and chatted. Rosy cheeks. Little voice.


We saw all kinds of animal prints. Suspected rabbits and foxes. We found a hidey hole in the woods with foot traffic all around.

new den

The other morning, the girls pointed out two foxes running through the field into the woods. They were beautiful. Sometimes I wish days could be twice as long, so I could sit by the window or go walking with my camera and take pictures. (And also have time to sit by the fire and read books with Lanie!)

I'll probably take Erin out with me tomorrow and find new areas. I'm sure she'll want to bring her camera too.

Monday, January 26, 2015

And still counting (6541-6564)

snowy days
early closure
bread in the cabinet
mini marshmallows

Snow on the trees

beef stew
soup on the stove
my bread machine
homemade herb bread
leg warmers

an easy Friday night
party invitations for Erin
moms to chat poolside while the kids swam
a new scarf to knit
days at home

that Hebrews verse--my favorite
an unexpected visit from Dad and Linda
a blanket he knitted, gifted
My dad made this. My favorite color--gray.

and talk of another in the works--for me
a God that never ceases to amaze me

Lego Friends on a Sunday afternoon
tulips in a pitcher on the counter
Tulips, because spring is not far away

yellow blossoms from a friend
a Monday surprise

friends who love

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

One of those days

It was one of those days where I needed to speak positive words over every step I took. One of those days where I had to take a big, deep breath--a lot. One of those days I wished I could start over.

It was also one of those days where a classroom of teenagers was the perfect medicine. One of those days where I got so lost in my work that the time flew by. One of those days that another mama spoke gently over me, words she didn't even know I needed to hear. One of those days that held something so unexpected.

Sandy told me how she saw the little flowers at the store and they were so cheery. Told me how she wanted them, as we both found ourselves aching for spring. She found me out later in the day, tucked away and nearly buried under papers, and she held out a little brown bag and a smile.

Inside the bag were the sweetest, cheery yellow blossoms smiling up at me.

"OH MY GOSH," I exclaimed. "YOU DIDN'T!" But she did.

At home, as I lifted the pot out of the bag, I found a tiny card with hand-drawn happy flowers across the front, telling me I'm loved.

Over dinner, we all shared something good about our day. I spoke about the flowers, and cried.

Monday, January 19, 2015

One thousand gifts and still counting (6517-6540)

for a movie on castles and dungeons
food in the fridge
lotion for these poor feet
good naps on the couch

two tables together in an unexpectedly packed restaurant
matching bows on her little girls
gifted bags in return when we gifted her
a visit with Marshall's Mom
a great turnout at homeschool skate

Lisa's daughter sitting for us so we could catch a movie
future talks with Nicole
plans on the calendar for a mom's night with Lisa
Louis Zamperini's story
Jiliann over for dinner and sleepover

Wegman's caramelized onion and bacon pizza
Burnin' love burgers with my family
and dessert
kids ready for bed
the beauty of these years

remembering the journey and the miracle of here
how Teena's house embraces
her smile
our friendship
hair color in the mail

Sunday, January 18, 2015


Shane and I went out to a movie without kids for the first time in twelve years.

We saw "Unbroken."

I knew I'd be a wreck over the film, but I didn't anticipate the weight of these parts: his brother's encouraging words to him, believing in him; and words at the end that spoke of trauma and nightmares that must have haunted him worse than the terrible pains inflicted upon him. Because you can forget how a pain feels, but a nightmare can bring a prison back in full color, unexpectedly--stirring up things one hopes to be forgiven and forgotten.

We had a busy pace this weekend of go-go-and-go and it was all good. Loved the love that fills our lives: lunch and hugs with Marshall's Mom; Linda at the table Friday night; Nicole for coffee; Lisa's hugs; her kids' smiles and laughter in my home; Jiliann overnight; a full day of happiness; hugs with Teena; and an unplanned dinner out.

That's burnin' love right there.

We got home, full and tired. This heart, tender. I stumbled across an old post, and laughed as I read aloud to Shane the "hate" and "hate". I looked at the pictures, and I electronically flipped through images, and looked lovingly at our dog today, and lovingly at that man of mine stoking a fire and said, "I still love it here."

I still love it here.

Monday, January 12, 2015

One thousand gifts and still counting (6487-6516)

the bracelet Nathan made for me at play date
extension cords for the hair dryer
the generosity of strangers, and many anonymously, to help a good friend's good friend

coconut lavender lotion (makes my feet sing with happiness)
Shane's socks
smoke rising from the chimney stacks
a holiday scented candle burning on the mantel
a fleece blanket on the bed

white eye shadow sticks
an organized and clean laundry room
smudge-free hardwood floors 
snow days home from co-op
a story on King Arthur

the blanket Denise gave me for Christmas
castle projects at school
a gift card discovered
Satsuma in the house

a hat and gloves
my dog
a potholder gifted to me by Ivette
blondies with toffee
how Nathan got the giggles

a February date on the calendar
camera 3
this song, and getting to sing it at two different services
an awesome husband
singing on this side of freedom

whatever that dark chocolate salted yumminess was

Saturday, January 10, 2015


It never fails. Every time Nicole comes over for coffee on Saturdays, Erin appears with a list of demands and she won't back down.

"Can I have a snack?"

"Can I play my DS?"

"Can I go on the computer?"

"Can I make a video?" (Usually with my phone, but she got her own camera for Christmas and it takes video.)

Today was no exception, despite me saying before I left to drop Lanie off, "You don't need a snack when Nicole comes over. You just had breakfast. In fact you still have some left in your bowl."

Sometimes I give in to her demands--I did often in the beginning until I caught on to her scheme. Then I started saying no sometimes. She just persisted.

I came home to brew coffee for us, and I was putting away some miscellaneous things from the store that I didn't get during the big shop (capers, crackers, pretzels, chives). Erin showed up on queue. I opened a bag of pretzel rods and put some in a dish for her without saying a word.

Later, she came at me with this, "Can I make a video?"


"Why not?"

I gave her wide Mommy eyes that were meant to imply don't make this an issue.

"Our Monday/Wednesday/sometimes Friday agreement?" I reminded her.

She is undaunted. I picked her up and told her she was rotten and tickled her.

Within the hour, she reappeared with a handmade sign that read "Can I watch TV? Can I watch a movie?"

I nodded yes. This only happens when Nicole is over (or I'm on the phone with Christy).

I feel so manipulated.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Good guy

It snowed after he left for work. I was home with the kids, stoking fires, fixing lunches, schooling, laundry--the usual Tuesday show. Erin went out at times to play in the snow. We had hot chocolate (with snowman Peeps from Miss Christy!).

Shane came home, changed, and went back out to shovel and plow. At one point I saw him cleaning off my car. He came in and looked older and cold and tired. He sat by the fire while I heated up the soup and sliced up cornbread.

After dinner, he went to clean up.

"Take the night off," I said. "I'll clean up. You have done so much--out there in the cold. Cleaning off my car. You are such a good guy."

"I even fixed your windshield wipers," he said.

Quizzical pause in my mind.

"After I broke them," he finished.

I laughed.

"I figured you'd need them tomorrow."

Luckily, we didn't. An area 2-hour delay meant no school for us. Serious insertion of happy dance. We love homeschooling, because of the at-home days. Co-op has its benefits, but there's no place like home. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

One thousand gifts and still counting (6460-6486)

Shane was outside the other day chopping up some wood we had stacked the other year. While he was doing that, I had the sweet luxury of taking a morning nap on the couch--but a part of me was a little jealous I wasn't out there chopping with him.

a morning nap on the couch
the selfie hat
week 1

and a 52-week lesson in creativity
big boxes of salad
wine at night with my man
a warm house

a gifted blanket from Denise
wood chopped
talks with Shane
and perspective
success in the lens of failure

a photoshoot for Lisa
and a potential one with a friend's beautiful parents
a morning chat with Nora at Panera
learning on perseverance and reliance

meatballs and spaghetti
ice cream after the kids go to bed
fleece-lined leggings
foggy mornings
flocks of birds in synchronized flight

for a marriage that is going on sixteen years strong
and a friendship that is even longer
wine corks that represent many shared meals with family and friends
a reading schedule up for a new year
new and returning writers on the blog

66 Books

Sunday, January 4, 2015

My list vs the life that happens

I had a mental list of things I wanted to accomplish over our break.

  • Paint master bathroom
  • Stain wine crate
  • Do Pinterest cork craft
  • Spend a week lesson-planning for January and February
  • Read a book on motherhood

I didn't get any of it done. And just one. last. day before back to school, I wish for supernatural slowing of time to get something done. I wondered where all the time went?

But then I started thinking of the things I did get to do, and I was productive. Just not in the ways I planned.

  • I had meaningful visits with David, Nora, Beckie, and Anita 
  • worked video camera for two Christmas services and a weekend service
  • went out to lunch with Julie on her birthday and did a newborn photoshoot for her
  • photographed another family just before Christmas and they went out and printed the images for family gifts later that day
  • spent a day with Denise
  • went out with my family of four to see a movie ("Into the Woods"--loved it!)
  • had four extra days with my man at home
  • got a calendar prepared for 2015's reading list on 66 Books and launched a new year
  • cleaned the house and did laundry
  • we had Teena and her family over for lunch and pie 
  • got to watch a movie with my husband and we stayed up late (haha, so funny to me)
  • got to see Christy and hang out with her for a few hours
  • got to visit with a sweet neighbor and exchange gifts with her while Erin cuddled her dog 
  • Erin and I gifted cookie bags to other neighbors and one texted me later with a message I will treasure
Oh, the short-sighted vision of a to-do list in light of things that have a lasting value.

Today, we packed up the tree. I handed Shane the manger set and sang the little song that I'd heard repeatedly since it came out.

"One day, they won't be here to play that song," he said. Because, what--I didn't cry enough yesterday at church when they talked about the vapor brevity of time, and he and I had JUST had a conversation about the in-home years of influence we have left on the girls? And then they sang this song?

100 Years

People: stop this! 

Thinking on the brevity of time ... numbering days ...  investments of time and in people ... Camera 4.

And just because I like to check things off, I cut up all the corks I had for that craft project

Friday, January 2, 2015

The new word

After my talk with David the other week, his words bounced around in my thoughts.

Balance ... wonderment. I love those words. I felt sure one of them would end up a focus word for 2015. I'm still drawn to them. But for whatever reason, I can't shake this one ... this one that is loaded with meaning:

Camera 4

At church, there are three stationary cameras, and I've worked them all. But Camera 4 is a roving camera that ducks in and out of shadows and courts visibility and calls for creativity. I have always secretly wanted to do Camera 4. My excuses were: well, I will when I'm skinnier, stronger, fitter ... when I get better ... when I'm ready.

And when exactly will any of that be?

For someone who is a little too comfortable behind the scenes, it's time to step out and test the shadows.

Camera 4 means creativity, facing fears and pressing on, chancing visibility, learning something new, freedom. It means a solid focus on a goal and throwing off insecurity in ability.

So that's it.

It's more than the act. It's an attitude.