Monday, August 28, 2017

And still counting (10,854-10,885)

chips for my sister
my parents' grave marker selected and ordered

a day at the cemetery
$4 bouquets (for a friend, ok, and one for me too)
emails with Suzanne
hugs from Miss Pat, still
friends over to swim

a girls' night out with my children
new shoes for Lanie
a lunchbox
and a little pot
a library run

an afternoon nap
a friend's nighttime text, "Take care of you"
$1 spray bottle
that nesting feeling of home
one week left of summer vacation

taco rice, delivered to a friend
a cat named Butterscotch
tomatoes gifted by a neighbor
a night walk with Lanie
a phone call with Tracey

sale mums to take to a friend
a Saturday in the weeds
pumpkin muffins with extra chocolate chips
a parents' meeting for high school students
a free book

friends filling calendar grids
that man of mine
a sleep in morning
this last week before school starts
washi tape

Monday, August 21, 2017

And still counting (10,800-10,853)

home days--Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday
slow days
the aches and pains
the tears
the tensions melting away
a chat with Jill

a field book, free, on backyard birds
a Dickens book
chips for my sister
her smile to see me
my happy heart to see her

a friend at the pool
hours in chat
losses and hopes
good sleep

Marshall's Mom!
her kiddos spilling out of the car
pool splashes
and the littlest one down the slide again and again!
lunches al fresco

the friendship mug
good talks
the eyes of a friend
and the safety to be myself
chicken lettuce wraps with red grapes

that man of mine
hugs from my kiddos
a read aloud on the couch with Erin
Friday at home and no transportation
catching glimpses of this heart reemerging

a fall photoshoot on the calendar
Michi in the rain
a bushel of apples
baked apples in the oven
cuddles with Erin after her scare

Miss Pat's hug at the store
a car in the shop
mandatory stay-home days
an off week resulting in a week off
a vacuumed car

the directors' meeting
a chat with Casi
pizza cooked and waiting for me when I got home
a favorite shampoo
ice water in a tumbler

the message, for someone who needed to hear it
and my husband, who pointed it out to me
amazing grace
a mention of appreciation

texts with Wendy
a meal for a friend
feeling restored

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Day story


Outside my window, the sun is shining on a day that forecast thunderstorms. The air is summery thick. A bike's handlebar tassels twist in a breeze, bouncing back light. Hoppy balls nestle in the grass. Chalk drawings pop here and there. Pool inflatables tower high. All evidence of summer fun.

Giving thanks for friends through the years and the different seasons we walk. That lives are united under the most unexpected circumstances, and in some cases by magic tricks. This windy life road would not nearly be as lovely without her, her friendship, her family. She has held me up more often than she knows with her encouragement and listening heart. And she has pushed me back into the ring just as often. She has grit--and enough to share.

In the school room, coffee scents waft from the kitchen. Books soar stacked. And Erin, eagerly writes a new pen pal. I smile across the table at her, for the years that knit our family together with theirs.

From the kitchen, lunch dishes on the counter and opened chocolate bars for sampling. The kids and I finished off the last of the brownies. A rainbow of cups stretch stacked from thirsty kids. The little glass pitcher makes even the wee ones feel grown up.

I am full, and full in a way that is rich and satisfied. Time together, my love language.

I don't want to forget the years we mamas shared pushing little ones on swings in a big green field. The kiddos and juice cups and big slices of banana chocolate chip bread. The friendships growing and kids growing. And even now, growing on, and how a play set seems smaller with our littles growing up.

Around the house, Erin colors. I type. Lanie reads. A cat looks out the door. I am glad for a week that slowed me down--for car troubles and aches and pains and ailments. I am glad for a slower pace--and in the process the tension melted away. Yesterday I read aloud to Erin on the couch, and we reconnected in lasting way, in a summer that had me in too many directions, and none of them present--always looking ahead, or looking back. And if this is the only week I remember of this summer, then at least it was a good one--even with car troubles and aches and pains and ailments. 

I'm hearing the hushing sound of air conditioning. And it is good.

A view of my favorite things:
Comet--twenty pounds of punk

A turtle came to visit

Celebrating six years

boxes in the mail

the ammo bag turned field bag for nature studies

the electric kettle

At the studio to order dance shoes

At the table, a marble composition notebook and making meals and making plans. I am happy. I am grateful. My heart sings loud and strong and full of color. Oh, can I be back now?

Monday, August 14, 2017

And still counting (10,767-10,799)

vacations, rained out
a check-engine light
a tire with a slow leak
all plans canceled

an impromptu sleepover for the girls
popcorn with nacho seasoning
a movie night at home
B vitamins

doctor appointments with my sister
good care for her
her smile
a new planner (the composition notebook that can hold up under the daily assault)

the cold, juicy sweetness of watermelon
the summer writing workshop
messages with Suzanne
David's phone call
Linda, in my heart

photobooks of memories
calls from Marshall's Mom
tea with Rebecca
raw honey
an electric kettle in the mail

scriptures, encouragement
iced coffee
camera 2

Erin's love note
a good message on hope
three weeks of summer left

Monday, August 7, 2017

And still counting (10,746-10,766)

a break from headaches
Becky's help
twenty bags
lunch at the table
long thoughts

a hearing
an afternoon nap
kids at the pool
ice cream cones

timely messages in my inbox
good reads (Dancing With My Father by Sally Clarkson)
weeds pulled
a good cry

a bonfire
with marshmallows

a cool summer night
a tow rope
iced coffee weekends

evenings at home

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Six--the difference here makes

This wasn't the house where I brought my babies home. It wasn't where they celebrated first words, first steps, first birthdays. But it has been the home they're growing up in--home, sweet home.
The fall of 2010 when we decided to put a contract on this house. I framed this image and hung it on the wall of the office space in our old house while we waited for our buyer.

Erin was 3 at the time; Lanie had just turned 8. They loved walking through the crunchy fall leaves.

It is always my wonderland. The birds. The trees. The seasons. The beauty. It is a life-giving sanctuary. Whether from the kindness of neighbors or (as a dear friend and poet described) the welcoming arms of trees--it is a loving embrace.

Thank you, God. I will always be grateful that you put this property under Shane's nose and embedded it instantly in my heart. I am grateful for the bleeding hearts in the garden--and gardens everywhere; the field where I've photographed families and my own!; cookie swaps and not swaps; swim dates and poetry teas; Friday night dinners and Thanksgivings; the school room bones to write upon; the captain's bell; the smell of pines; picnics, bonfires, sledding days, leaf piles; woodsmoke that welcomes guests and the luscious heat the logs provide; gifts from neighbors and coffee at the table; cold winters and all the blankets my dad knitted and crocheted; and that barely touches it all.

We've had our own firsts here: first birthdays here; first holidays here; first days of school here. While Lanie had four years of swim lessons in life before, she first swam fearlessly here. Erin got a bedroom of her own, learned to swim, started school, rode a bike, lost a tooth--all firsts here.

This is the place where I built the Ikea chairs for the school room table and Lanie protested, "Why can't you be like other moms?!" And that was just the simple start of many changes--learning to ride a tractor, taking down trees, stacking wood, hauling mulch, and all the weeding. We remodeled the school room and painted almost every space (I still have yet to change Lanie's room--her choice--and our bedroom and bathroom still have sample swatches of a color palette I'm no longer considering!).

A sensory feast. A physical engagement with a landscape. A spiritual journey and transformation. A community.

Healing took place in this home, and growth. And while this isn't the house we built, this is the house we are building upon with love and memories.

Our first fall in 2011--she turned nine.

This summer in 2017--she is fourteen to be fifteen.

2011 in the garden on the dinosaur rocks. Photoshoot for our Christmas card. Erin would turn five.

This summer, hanging out with her favorite neighbor, Cubby. Erin is ten, going on eleven this year.

We welcomed Nella into our home--that rescue hound and her hidden happy dance. We said goodbye to Rudy. We welcomed my dad and sister's cats Comet and Haley this year, however temporary their stay.

My prayer and hope is still: That anyone who enters our home would feel welcome. That anyone who sits at our table would feel safe to share a happening, thought or feeling without judgment or ridicule. That anyone within these walls would know they are loved just as they are, and always will be. That any family member or guest would feel a sense of inclusion and belonging. 

Thank you, God, for this home. Thank you for these years of healing and growth. Thank you for the joy that awaited us here, and for meeting our needs physically and in heart.

I truly have thousands of pictures of our life here. Just very random pulls from the years--because I can't fit them all. 



2013--her first loose tooth and the last picture of all her baby teeth


2014--my all-weather girl

2015--play dates


2016--when we got the new oven

2017--good life

2017--no place like home

2017--a winter movie picnic in the living room



2017--the difference here makes