Monday, February 29, 2016

And still counting (8369-8407)

a chat with Dawn
the next day skies after a thunderstorm

kids cuddled next to me after a big thunder boom
a limbo win for Erin
a sugar cookie for a helper
a way to help a dear friend during a move
curry chicken salad from Wegmans

good sleep
peace (peace, peace, peace, peace)

sweet potatoes
tea with Sharon
coffee with Ann
wood drying in the sunlight

spring's lion entrance
an extra day in the month
trees cut down for free
my dad's responses
a good book

warm weather
a rake in my hand
beds raked out and leaves hauled off
big rounds of trunk
a blister on my hand

an afternoon park jaunt
my man accompanying

unsalted butter
a great day
spaghetti with meat sauce
and cookies for dessert

bird song
a comfy couch
Wegman's cookies

limbo win

fun with friends

butter for cookies
stormy night

Sunday, February 28, 2016


We went to the park today. All of us and a friend's two daughters who had stayed with us for the weekend.

It was a first time to the park for everyone but Lanie.

It had one of those metal slides like I remember from when I was a kid. The kind that could get scorching hot in a summer sun.

It had one of those turnabout things. And there was so much more. We spent a few hours there, and had it been a few degrees warmer, we could have spent even more time.

I laughed a lot with my man. The girls were giggly and happy. It felt like spring, and here we are, still hanging on to February.

When we got home, I set out to make dinner. And for fun, I was going to bake chocolate chip cookies, but we only had salted butter. Yuck.

"Want me to run out and get unsalted butter?" Shane asked.

"Really? Sure! Get two!" I said.

I baked cookies while the kids played, and Erin and Sage came down commenting on the scent, unexpected because they thought we didn't have the right butter. (Note to self: you have more than enough salted butter.)

I piled cookies on to a decorative cake stand, and after dinner, dessert!

"Can we have two?" one asked.

"Yes!" I answered.

Their big grins.

This day was really good. Really, really good.

Thankful for sunshine, a great park that's minutes away (and yet felt like traveling back in time), unsalted butter, and that man of mine.

Shane and I laughed so hard today (oh my gosh, me trying to run, Shane on the swings, the selfies of us that he kept wrecking). It was the best.

Monday, February 22, 2016

And still counting (8353-8368)

sweet correspondence with a mom friend
coffee dates on the calendar
a shopping night with my teenager

library runs
their laughter watching old movies
good books to read
and good books to hear (audio books)
pizza night

inspiration in the motherhood book
sunshine and warm air
birdsong started in full force
garden plans
good fires at night

the smell of woodsmoke
worship on Saturday night
my neighbors

Friday, February 19, 2016

Spring, forward

Forecast is supposed to be near 60 degrees tomorrow. Something about that nudged me to open up the curtains. And then I swept, vacuumed and mopped the floors. I might have cleaned some smudges off the windows. I have even entertained the idea of bagging up things to give away.

A purge and a cleaning. A deep desire for growth and newness and warmth. Of getting rid of the old. And taking off the heavy, like a bulky winter coat, but more like stuff that weighs down hearts.

I laughed at Erin's attempt to resurrect a snowman. And then I caught a shot of her sliding down one of the remaining snow slopes in the front yard.

leaves for hair

I consider cleaning out the clutter. And painting the master bedroom and bathroom. It seems so long since I last painted, even though it was only last summer when we spruced up the gluten-free pantry.

Looking forward to spring and green and warmth. Looking forward to tractor rides and field fragrance. Looking forward ... and it feels good. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

GPS and other things

I dropped Lanie off at a friend's for a sleepover. Plugged in a new address to take Erin to a party. The GPS told me to turn right, so I did. It told me to turn left, so I did. It told me to take a left on a road that was closed. I had to turn around and try another road. The system recalculated the route. A few turns later, I'm heading in the vicinity, and it tells me to turn on a residential street. And then another turn left, but this time, there really was no road, but a barricade.

No way.

"Mom, it's ok. We can just go home," Erin said from the back seat.

I kept driving. I really had no idea where this place was. And then suddenly, out of no planning on my part, we made miscellaneous turns and got redirected by the GPS.

"You have reached your destination," it said.

Fortunately, we were only about fifteen minutes late.

It's not the first time my GPS has gotten me lost. In fact, almost every time I'm going on a field trip or to a party, it gets me lost. (On a funny note, Nora and I were having a discussion about GPS's and she said hers gets her lost too; that it's a really old one. Turns out, we have the same one!)

Had me thinking about other destinations I've arrived at, places I didn't expect to find myself--usually a situation or a feeling. How did I get here again?

Reading the motherhood book still, and chapters five and six reinforce discipleship and teaching with a heavy emphasis on following Jesus and what we think on.

How did I end up (complaining, worried, frustrated, angry)?

What am I doing here (in a funk, checking out, eating too much chocolate)?

When I find myself somewhere I don't want to be, this road trip is a reminder to check who's giving me directions. Is it global or godly? Whose voice am I following?

These days, working hard on keeping a family focus and seeking direction from a trustworthy source.


Yesterday, we got all the Tuesday work done. Even made shrinky dinks. The kids are on an electronics ban this week. Life is a lot more interesting away from a screen.

happy this girl has gained 30 pounds since July.

waiting for shrinky dinks

I got a package in the mail.

When I tried on the blazer, Erin's eyes grew wide.

I should get a full length mirror instead of doing these bathroom shots. I love my 70s tile.

"Mom! You look so young!"

I laughed.
Elbow patches and skinny jeans!

When I showed Shane this picture, he asked if I photoshopped it.

"Um, no. This is what happy looks like," I said. 

Monday, February 15, 2016

And still counting (8328-8352)

scattered hearts
a boy who wanted a midnight blue sky on his ceiling
lasagnas for lunch

helping opportunities for a friend as she moves into her own home-sweet-home
neighbors to gift on Valentines Day
my kids' friends celebrating birthdays today
snow in the forecast
wood to burn

pizzas for dinner
red wine
an extra day home last week
a Valentines party

her friendships
warm blankets
Cubby and Sammy

chocolates to give away
a skate date with Erin
morning hugs from my kiddos
the people in our lives
a Target night run with Erin

texts with friends
my man

Sunday, February 14, 2016


Our Friday dinner plans fell through, which turned out to be fine because I was asleep on the couch early. Saturday I fixed hot lunch for a friend who's in move mode, dropped it off to her crew getting their house ready, and got paint specks all over my face from helping paint a ceiling in a son's room. Came home to get ready for church.

After ending worship, one of the singers encouraged us to share God's love with someone this weekend. I love that love can be about what we give instead of what we get.

Today the girls have parties to attend, and Erin and I were out the door by 9:00 in what felt like single digits. Brrr. Grabbed gifts, and more gifts--I knew that there was no way I would get in a batch of cookies, let alone two, for our neighbors. We have been at a hustle pace for days. There was just no time.

So we bought big hearts of chocolates and gift bags (along with birthday gifts for parties) and put in pretty tissue papers. Erin and I walked them to our neighbors and left colorful, festive packages at their doors. I hope their families are as excited to receive the gifts as we were to give them. But most of all, I hope they feel loved.

My kiddos woke to paper hearts scattered from their bedroom doors, down the hall and stairs to their seats at the kitchen table. Some candies and a Beanie Boo each. They gave out their own cards to us. And my man surprised me with a box of chocolates too from a favorite chocolate place. I made banana pancakes because he was home to enjoy them, and we sat and talked over coffee until I had to get moving.

A break at home after a skate date with Erin. I have images to snap and edit. And two parties to take the kids to. And a whole mess of work to complete before school tomorrow.

Thank God for coffee.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


This morning. 

"All that plowing I did yesterday," he started. "For nothing. It snowed last night. The driveway is covered."

"Do you think we'll have school today?" I asked.

"Why is everything measured by whether you have school or not?"


I made coffee anyway.

Dear Wednesday,

Do what you're going to do. I'm ready. I consider you a Friday now anyway.


Not a lot of snow, but Shane said it was kind of icy.


Got the notice. School's closed.

Starting a fire. Cozying up with ancient history and hanging out a little longer with Agamemnon till the kids get up.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The best use of time

If chapter three convicted my heart about the builder and the one who tears apart, chapter four got me about time and my attitude.

When Erin wanted to show me a picture of her and a bestie she had taken with her camera, I stopped pre-dinner clean up and cooking and looked at the image. It was special to her.

When Lanie asked before going up to bed last night if I would make pancakes for breakfast, I said I would. This morning, even though I slept in after making Shane's lunch, I got up before my teenager and had four pancakes waiting for her when she walked into the kitchen. She smiled and hugged me.

I'm so glad I did flour blend batches this weekend. I made enough that I could even whip up a batch of pancake/waffle mix, just for days like this (and to use with the delightful waffle iron I got for Christmas).

flour batches, our favorite blend

label love

We had banana pancakes for breakfast as the snow fell.
Banana pancakes, gluten-free

Lanie had already finished up by the time Erin came down

she sneaks a smile in

Shane always orders banana pancakes for breakfast the morning we pack up to head home from the beach. We stop off at a restaurant for breakfast and get big, fat pancakes. Now that we are gluten free, Lanie remarked we won't be able to do that anymore. But I have other plans ... plans of off-season rentals, and our feet in the sand as we school, and gluten-free banana pancakes just because.

"Choosing to be a servant-mother means willingly giving up myself, my expectations, and my time to the task of mothering--and choosing to believe that doing so is the best use of my time at that moment." The Mission of Motherhood, by Sally Clarkson*, chapter 4, page 66. (emphasis mine)

I underlined this in the book.

When time is my love language, understood in this context, it shattered me. I don't know why, but being a mom seemed a heckuva lot easier when my kids were little. This season, this year--it's a hustle.

Some days, the hustle is a force I laugh at. Other days, it's a force that beats me with a stick.

The snow is still falling in fat, fluffy flakes that make Erin laugh just to see them. We did three classes of work this morning. They are on a lunch break, and then we scheduled in lots of snow play time. Math and grammar to wrap up the day.

We even got to read ahead in history and science, and I felt such a peace.

Satsuma in the house. Fire in the school room stove. I steal a last breakfast bite of banana pancake, soaked with sweet maple syrup.

Already, I notice the difference, when my focus is on my mission (thank you, God) and not myself (and a crazy list of to-do).

There is still a crazy list of to-do, especially if we have classes tomorrow. Learning daily how to get it done, and done with love.

(*No compensation to mention this book.)

Monday, February 8, 2016

And still counting (8292-8327)

catching peachy highlights of a sunset through the fog
fog in the woods
a fire
Erin's hug goodbye in the cafeteria

a warm welcome from the kids in Great Books
the fun we have
a card for Nicole
and a history of thanks
Sandy's happy Tuesday wishes

a door closed
God's encouragement
a Chik-fil-a date with my girl
a Tuesday crunch that tells me

"needs improvement"
an unscheduled visit with Jennifer
Karen B's prayer
condolences for Erin from her Bible class
Nora's friendship

four days break
the kids in math class
Shane getting better
cottage pie

brownies for Zoe
a second dinner
and a recipient (You) provided
a painting date with Lisa
perspective on motherhood

her stash of pictures

the little wooden box
hugs with Erin
flour batches ready to go

reminders of the best use of my time

sunsets through the winter woods

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Tuesday's child

Monday's child is fair of face.

CFA lunch with this sweetheart yesterday.

Tuesday's child is full of grace.
math time

This quote: "Grace means that all of your mistakes now serve a purpose instead of serving shame."

Thinking on the things that grace is, where it's found ... and where it's not found.

Monday, February 1, 2016

And still counting (8247-8291)

blizzard snows
school closures
home days
sledding trails

silver trays
colorful cups of water
friends over
a snowman
good coffee

honest talks
sleep-in days
warm fires
math pages
a book report

shopping with my kids
shirts on clearance
a pair of shoes
tissue paper
gift bags

a birthday party
friends at the table
chats with moms
an answer
condolences by mail

the cost of things
a tunnel, twenty-two years ago
my dad
boundaries redefined
a mailbox cleared

neighbors stopping on the road for a hello
texts with another just because
a mom's message that her son likes the way I teach
a bracelet: community
cherry pit warmers under a blanket

red cardinal in snow
a seat at Lisa's table
first friends here
hours of outside play
Sam's friendly voice

a Monday appointment
wind under the tarp
infinity scarves
my dog
books in the mail

leftovers in the fridge