Tuesday, January 31, 2017

And still counting (9980-10,000)

for talks with my dad on the phone
an opportunity to pray with him
his heartbeat and life
blankets and scarves he made that I can wrap myself in
for reminders of my Father who sings over me
Tracey, who makes me laugh

extroverted strangers who do all the talking so I don't have to think
hot tea with honey
winds that stop so we can move a wayward trampoline
so many dear friends and their prayers
his souped up truck

a glimpse into his world
the things that grief rips open
my dad
a tote of yarn balls he meant to surprise me with
for reminders of a bigger picture

for a necklace he gave me, turned over to inscription
his rest and peace in Christ's care
walks with my daughter under a sparkling, detailed night sky
the wrestle in understanding who he was, who I am, who we were
that You hold the world, and You hold this moment

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Day story


Outside my window, darkening skies. It's a super windy day. Yesterday's mild was pushed aside with force and fury. Hair, whipped and wild. Earlier today at the piano teacher's house, we stopped by bearing wine, ran into a fellow friend, and witnessed a neighbor's trampoline toss and tumble across lawns and lane--right up against her house! The three of us wrangled it off the house and wrestled it into a grouping of trees. Here, happy for the view of woods, swaying.
It took three of us against the wind to get this thing settled

Giving thanks, for many things and especially my dad. He's in the hospital for a second day. Congestive heart failure. COPD. Walking pneumonia. And now, an upcoming heart valve surgery. My insides feel shaken and dizzy. Lots of tears. A 66 Books reading of Jacob and Esau and Esau's desperate plea--pours from my own eyes in the retelling. His anguish. I try to accept the things I can't control.

In the school room, we read aloud from Caddie Woodlawn and Erin laughs out loud. She's cross-stitching a gift for a favorite and faraway friend.
She made it in one day!

We laugh at the fat squirrels fighting over the bird feeder, and we enjoy the birds who fly in to dine. We read about birds. She tells me the swan and cygnet remind her of us. I'm glad to be here with her. I'm glad this is us.

From the kitchen, a thrown together spaghetti with meatballs. It's not a favorite. But I didn't get much of a meal plan together, and we didn't make it out to Wegman's. I can't eat. My dad is heavy on my heart.

I am creating new rhythms. Morning time podcasts while I lap around the house for extra steps on Fitbit. And today, reading and crafting and a sweet peace before the news that shook us. Tucked close, I am, hunkering in a lot like I did in my walk last year. One foot at a time. One moment at a time. Faith walk. Trust walk.

I don't want to forget praying for my dad over the phone. This was a first we've ever approached the Lord together, and God is good. I don't know what it will look like (and maybe this is it), but I can trust restoration in His hands. How much stronger he sounded this afternoon (when he knew the plan) than he sounded this morning. The hugs of my daughters. The prayers of dear and trusted friends.

I am reading the last pages of many things and ready to start much more: One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitzyn; All Who Go Do Not Return by Shulem Deen; Seize the Day by Joyce Meyer; The Family Romanov by Candace Fleming; Craving Connection by the (in)courage community; All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque (audio).

I am hearing this song on YouTube: Tell Me

Around the house, it is the four of us. Calls with my sisters. Waiting at the gate for the bell to sound, the doors to open, and not knowing what waits on the other side. Ready (not ready). Set (not yet).

A view of my favorite things:


testing in Animal Farm

a favorite library and a study spot just because

afternoon heat

 At the table, a cell phone full of love texts from praying friends. A salad plate, untouched.

Monday, January 23, 2017

And still counting (9948-9979)

friends for tea
our first doll tea party

blueberry muffins

and dolls, accompanied
sweet girls, sweet dolls

drizzle days

playing in the house
the poems they chose (and, oh, when she read the one Lanie wrote)
friendship through these years
hot drinks
hot fires

Christy's funny (mouse) video
sleepovers with friends
a dinner out with my guy

garlic on pizza
the way we're all piled into a room together

her book recommendations
hard talks that bring about good
the writers on 66 Books
a photo gig with a friend
toughened fingertips from ukulele practice

the cyst, disappearing
lots of steps this week
my first all greens!

the ability to function on 3 hours of sleep
and the delight of a night of 10+ hours of sleep
Linda at the table

ice cream celebrations
witnessing a historic moment online with Erin (the inauguration)

for a friend's mention of scripture that takes me back to our first spring here, and the word RESTORE that calls out to me in so many ways
God can give back all those years. He has. And he will continue to do so. And I thank him for my sadness, because it has brought an even greater joy. RESTORE
blueberries and blackberries at the store
texts with Christy on the weekend

camera 1
working with a great Sunday team (Dave, John, and Tom--plus hellos with Doug and Casi)

Monday, January 16, 2017

And still counting (9918-9947)

the ability to homeschool
their chatter at the table
their friendship

the love notes Lanie leaves at the table for me
sore fingers from music practice
that little ukulele
reading music!
66 Books

all the lettuce in the fridge
loaves of (gf) bread
goal days (10,000 steps!)
mild days
hot coffee

wood smoke
skate night
window findings

grocery run, and she rode on the end of the cart

taco shells


that girl!

skate date

texts with friends
break and bake cookies

errands with Erin
evidence of kids in the house
taco night
mouse traps

table top games

hot cocoa
Marshall's Mom

books in the mail

Monday, January 9, 2017

And still counting (9901-9917)

a drizzle walk with Denise
piano resumed
lessons in learning--restoring priorities
hot fires
first snowflakes

sipping chocolate
Erin's rosy cheeks from hours outside
a walk with Ann
a hound dog by the fire
home, sweet home
she hardly budges from this place

Our wood stack looks like a wall of snow, but the snow was only an inch deep
Sipping chocolate--new favorite


messaging with Casi
the best-ever break and bake peanut butter cookies
and they're gluten free!
 a visit with Anita and David
messages with my dad
ukulele chords

winter white rooftops
Erin's exclamation "snow!"

Sunday, January 8, 2017



give back, return; to put or bring back into existence or use; to bring back to or put into a former or original state; to put again in possession of something (Merriam-Webster dictionary) 

It was a reading marathon, fireside on the couch. She snuggled close (and how I wished I'd spent all the years with my kids like this, instead of table side). Huddled under a blanket my dad made. I'm so glad ten isn't too old for read alouds and leaning in.

I put a ribbon in the book to hold our spot.

"So what do you think is your favorite subject this year?" I asked.

"Well, I like history and science," she started.

"Yes, you're really good with history. You remember so many details that I've already forgotten chapters away," I replied.

"And science is good because of what we are learning," she continued, "and I like math and reading and spelling--except that part about writing all the words and definitions out because my hand gets tired--and writing and grammar--but grammar is a lot to remember--and piano."

"So, you're kind of saying you like it all?" I stated, more than asked.

I smiled. I didn't expect the response she gave me. I didn't expect that she'd like it all and that it would tumble out of her rapid-fire. This is such a contrast from last year--and a joy that grabs me by the heart.

Thinking on RESTORE. So many considerations. I could hardly look beyond the first steps the path  would lead down when I got the word. It seems heartbreakingly hard. But this part, restoring our home and our homeschool from the hustle and all of co-op--this is a rich reward. Erin is not only learning and loving it, she's thriving--and that's what I want for her.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Word 2017

It was some time in December, early, and I was thinking about words. Thinking of how to conclude COMMUNITY. Thinking of what a next focus might be. Thinking I should pick a lovely word. An easy word. A breezy word. But even the those would carry a holy twist--I'm sure.

Restore. Restoration. That came to mind. I paused with that. Hmm.

Nah. No. Nope.

Then that night at church, the entire message was on restoration. The pastor kept saying the word RESTORE. Coincidence? Maybe. But with its repetition, it was driven home to my heart.

I saw the pastor's wife out in the lobby and she came over to say hello. We hugged and I tried to make light conversation. Commented briefly on the sermon, and then my eyes filled with tears. (Boo.) And then tears fell. (Boo.)

I mumbled apologies for a very raw heart.

I knew it was the word.

I get a little confused about focus words. Not sure if they are a pondering or a pursuit. Maybe a mix of both. Some of mine these past years: God, joy, worship, service, community, wholehearted--to name a few. And this new year: RESTORE.

Lots to ponder, for sure. And this word, I hashtag typed it alongside an Instagram photo of my dad.

As he left yesterday, I watched him drive down the driveway and turn onto the road. That word fresh, and my heart so tender. I went upstairs to Shane and cried.

Are the words getting harder? Or is my heart getting softer?

And still counting (9869-9900)

so many black birds in the tree
the honk of geese overhead

walks, walks, walks
On the way to 10,000 steps

a slow week
his health, restored
texts with friends

a dinner out with friends
an unexpected gift (diffuser!)
a ninth year on 66 Books
a night out for Erin

winter sunsets
a Sunday sermon
fun from Ivette


crochet time with my dad
He came by to show me a new crochet stitch

a January first visit
time together
a snow burst
This was not in the forecast!

people on the video team

Behind the scenes
Lanie on the blog
She's a guest this year on 66 Books!