Thursday, March 29, 2012


The golden morning light greeted me that first day. I had been lulled to sleep by the chorus of spring peepers, and I felt like a child again. The familiar sound, the familiar place.


I walked the neighborhood in the silence of breaking daylight, past familiar homes. My friends from elementary school had lived there. My youth pastor's family, just down this street, here.

The house at the other end where my sister and I quietly left a May basket, rang the doorbell, and bolted, giggling wildly.

And some homes, still sharing the same love and the same people that were shared with our family long ago. Ready to welcome, ready to "share an egg" or a "cup of flour."

Neighbors. Home.

The clock is now hung. Our "shepherdess."

We're settling in. And it's the most peaceful, right feeling in the world. I love nesting. But this nest, this childhood home of mine, has been feathered before. By my own mother.

To tend it now, as a mother myself, is surreal.

The rhythm of our days picks up and falls into a whirl of something resembling normality. School hums merrily in the study where, years ago, we set up our first, bulky family computer.

The china cabinet holds my china -- my grandmother's china -- just as it once held my mother's things. Pieces from family, passed down. Like this home.

Even sweet Maizy seems to know that all is well.

Serene and restful. I think of Gideon's peace. He asked the Lord, "Show me?" And the Lord revealed.

So, too, the Lord revealed that this is the home for us. For this time. And we are so very grateful.

Miss Kate scrambles up to the loft, not minding one bit that it's time for some quiet. Nestled among books with tea and CDs where I remember sorting through Sports Illustrated volumes with my dad.


The rain pounds its rhythm on the skylight above me. The geese congregate in the nearby wetlands, seeking shelter among the reeds.

We, too, have sought shelter. Many times. And the Lord has faithfully gathered us into His arms. And every time, we've found home.
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Sunday, March 18, 2012

{Why Today is a Special Occasion}

I finally put my vintage Holly Hobbie drinking glasses in the dishwasher. Now normally this is where I would say something like, "Don't tell my sister!" But I'm not going to say that. Because of all people, she would understand why I committed this brazen act.

She found the set of glasses at a garage sale a couple of years ago and immediately thought of me. I was delighted to receive them and awed by the report that they had been so well cared for by the previous owner. As in, they had been hand washed.

For thirty years.

I suddenly became scared of the glasses. I was scared to drink from them. I was even more scared to let the children drink from them. On the rare occasions in which I did use one of these precious vessels, I was careful to hand wash them in warm, soapy water and return them carefully to their nesting place in the cupboard, breathing a sigh of relief that they had survived the hazardous ordeal.

At some point, one of the glasses ended up in the dishwasher. Probably the kids were loading and I wasn't paying much attention. As you can imagine, it ran through the cycle quite merrily and came out decidedly clean. It was wonderful, I tell you. Wonderful.

The dishwashing "mistake" made something click in my brain. I wasn't using these delightful glasses nearly as much as I could have. I wasn't freely sharing them with my girls, but had been behaving rather like a martyr each time I ceremoniously brought them down for a little one's sick tray. I was even creating more work for myself when I could have chosen simplicity.

It was all quite silly.

I love these glasses, and I want to use them. I want my girls to use them. And we will be so much more likely to do so if we can easily wash them. Even (yes, it's true), even if that means running the risk of chipping the paint or even losing one all together.

Otherwise, I let the thing become more important than the person using it.

As we continue to pack up our home, I realize that I've done this in other ways, too. I've come across stationery that I didn't use. I was saving it for a special occasion. Jam from England. Too precious to consume. I even found a bar of soap from Slovenia that I hadn't used. It was a souvenir, after all.

Saving, waiting, keeping. All for some elusive special occasion. An occasion that may or may not actually arrive.

But what if I allowed that special occasion to be right now? What if this was that special moment that I had been waiting for? What if I celebrated the beauty of today, cast off fears and inhibitions and said, "Yes! Let's do it!"

Because the truth is that life is happening today. And I sure don't want to miss out on it.
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Friday, March 16, 2012

{There You Have It: Fun Tips for Using "There," "Their," and "They're"}

Like many others, my kids often struggle with the usage of three notorious words: there, their, and they’re. And for good reason! They all sound the same, and they’re kind of tricky to use. To assist my children, I devised a fun memory tool. It’s rather silly, but maybe it will help some other learners out there, too.

Join me over at The Homeschool Classroom to continue reading.

An edited repost from the archives.
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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

{My Father's Song}

"Mom! I found what I wanna write!" Aidan dashes into the school room with his nature reader in hand. He sets the volume down in front of me and points to the paragraph.

I glance quickly over the words and continue to help Avery with her math while Aidan pulls together a paper and pencil for his dictation.

"I'm ready, Mom." Aidan's pencil is poised.

"Okay. Where are we starting?" I have one hand on the book, the other keeping Miss Kate within reach lest she bolt.

"Right here." He points out the section. "All the way to here."

I begin to read aloud as he copies the words.

"It is curious to hear a young blackbird or thrush beginning to try a tune. First he sounds one note, then two or three. They are not always in tune, but he tries again and again."

"Okay. That's all." Aidan is ready to put down his pencil.

For the first time since he handed me the book, I actually start to pay attention to the passage. "Wait a minute, honey. I want to include just one more sentence. I really like it."

I continue.

". . . he tries again and again . . . So, little by little, he learns his father's song."

Aidan scribbles off the last line, but before he rushes away I use the moment to really teach. Not just the copywork kind, but the heart kind.

Because I need to hear the words, too.

"Doesn't this sound like us, Aidan? We try our little tunes. Sometimes they sound good, and sometimes they're not right at all. But like the blackbird, we try again and again."

Aidan nods, and I get to the main point. "Do you know what tune we're learning? We're learning our Father's song. Just like the bird who copies his father's tune, we are learning to copy our heavenly Father in all that we say and do." I give my boy a squeeze and send him off to LEGO Land.

I reflect. He chose this passage out of the blue, but it was just what my heart needed at that moment. It sure feels like my notes are all warbly and erratic. But I continue to try again and again.

Aidan wanted the dictation to stop before we reached the last line. Sometimes I do the same thing. I try again and again. (And again and again.) But forget the main part. I forget that it's my Father's song that I'm learning.

Avery pulls me back to the present, demanding a drink or a snack or something prosaic like that. I focus on the task at hand, reminding myself that this too is part of learning my Father's song. This quiet, daily tending. Perhaps this is actually where my tune is most often refined. Right here, right at home. No one watching but the little ones. The little ones . . . and our Father.

Dictation taken from "Birds of the Air" by Arabella Buckley
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Friday, March 9, 2012

{King of the Day}

He turned nine this week.

This boy who is probably developing a permanent curve in his back from being hunched over LEGOs for hours on end.

This boy who still jumps up and says, "Watch this, Mommy!" His scientific mind always creating, undaunted: "Just because of my smartness I might know it."

This boy who seems to think that if he adds the phrase "a bit" to a sentence it somehow grants him immunity. Such as a recent comment to me, "You're a bit big."

Or (horror of horrors) a lovely comment to his piano teacher (aka his grandmother) during lessons: "Your breath smells a bit like borscht."


We celebrated this child on Wednesday. As Miss Kate said, "You're king of the day, Aidan!"

King Aidan chose pancakes for breakfast. For dinner? Steak, baked beans, and cole slaw. He's his father's son.

The dessert request was rather specific, too. Chocolate cupcakes with blue frosting and mint chocolate chip ice cream. I didn't complain.

We gathered round the table and I opened the book that chronicles snippets of time long past. Here I've recorded kid words and phrases and antics. We go back on special occasions like this and laugh over what once was.

My heart aches a bit though, too. To hold nine years in book form and to see how quickly it's all sped by. Right down to Aidan's own prophetic words at age five: "When I'm nine I'll forget this day and what I said."

I wrote it down that day. Sure enough, we did forget the day. But we kept at least one line of words. Words keep.

We kept other words, too. The words that reminded us of the time that he walked into the kitchen with marker all over his face. When questioned he casually shrugged, "I just wanted to look awesome."

Words are powerful. I turn to the page that holds words of a five-year-old Aidan who sighed, "I'm glad that you're my mommy and that you're here."

Something catches in my throat. Tears blur my vision and I know exactly what my words would be, should they be written down this day.

I'm glad that you're my son and that you're here.
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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

{And When HE Speaks}

Thank you, my dear, dear friends, for allowing me to share my raw little heart with you. It felt good. My last post would be sadly incomplete, however, if I did not follow up with an account of how the Lord has used this time to bless me.

I wrote then about how I might speak. Today I want to share with you how the Lord has spoken. Because His words bring life.

He spoke, first and foremost, through His Word. I knew that He would. It just took me some time to be still and know. He spoke when I just "happened" to be in 1 Samuel 7, quietly reading on Sunday morning.

I read and my eyes grew wide and I nodded assent, "Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, 'Thus far has the Lord helped me.'"

Yes. I knew He would help. He already has.

He spoke through the daily devotional that I just "happened" to read in Spurgeon's Morning and Evening. Spurgeon draws the reader's attention to 2 Corinthians 12:9. "My grace is sufficient for thee." He writes,

If none of God's saints were poor and tried, we should not know half so well the
consolations of divine grace . . . . God's grace is illustrated and magnified in the poverty
and trials of believers . . . . If then, yours be a much-tried path, rejoice in it, because you
will the better show forth the all-sufficient grace of God.

Yes. It's all about grace. May I faithfully show forth His grace through any trials which come my way.

He spoke through my husband who gently gathered the family around the table and encouraged us to speak life to one another. What are we thankful for? What do we appreciate about each other? This is life. Gratitude. Grace.

He spoke through His creation as I walked quietly through the park, the crisp evening air nipping at my cheeks and ears and nose. The reminders of a winter passing.

As I walked, engulfed in self, the sights and sounds began to penetrate. The birds. Chirping again. The buds on the trees. Swelling with life. With hope. My pace quickened as I awakened from my winter slumber and allowed myself to warm to the pulse of life.

And He spoke through you, my dear readers. He spoke through your comments and messages, both private and public. Your hugs, your offers to help and your promises to pray. He spoke through the camaraderie that I felt among those of you who said, "Yes. I know this feeling oh, so well."

He spoke through those who said with honesty what I needed to hear. And He spoke through the wise who have trodden this path ahead of me and who continue to speak truth into my life.

I have prayed for you and thanked my God for each you -- yes, even those of you whom I've never met. You are a true blessing.

So again, I thank you. Now let us continue in grace, my dear friends. For He speaks. And it is good.

J.W. Waterhouse, Miranda
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Saturday, March 3, 2012

{A Time to Speak}

There are times when I have nothing to say. Not because there's nothing on my mind, but because I'm too overwhelmed by the weight of it all. So I don't write. (Or, when I do, it's a glib little anecdote that barely passes as a tolerable read.)

But if I could speak, these would be my honest words:

My kids have been bickering. For weeks. I'm tired.

We haven't had a "normal" school day for . . . I'm not sure how long.

I haven't been able to motivate myself to follow my exercise routine.

It's become a habit to ignore the alarm in the morning.

The meal planning? Not going so well.

And, of course, the laundry. (Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full.)

My honest words. So why do I feel as though I can't speak? Because I don't have the answers. I'm out of "bickering kid" solutions. I'm not sure how to liven up the school day. (Instead I've considered enrolling them a number of times.) The exercising, the nutritious meals, the eight hours of sleep. It's all lacking. And I don't have any answers.

You see, I'm the kind of girl who likes to have the answers. I like to offer solutions to peoples' problems. I like to put in my two cents' worth pretty much whenever I have the opportunity.

And I can't do that right now. Because I can't even handle a shrieking six-year-old. (Although can anyone, really?)

But what if -- now humor me for a moment -- what if this is actually a good time to speak?

A time to speak and let you know that I don't have all the answers. A time to speak and let you know that you're not the only one who struggles. A time to speak and let you know that it's okay to feel like you don't have it all together.

Because no one really has it all together. At least, not on their own strength.

Which is why I'm so very grateful that I can speak with certainty on this point:

I'm surrounded by grace, and I'm filled with hope.

Because I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that God is good. I know that He'll faithfully redeem these "lost days," just as He's done many times before. And that's definitely something worth speaking about.

Like a crocus in the snow
I stand, knee-deep in winter
Holding springtime in my heart.

Joan Walsh Anglund

Woman Writing at a Table by Thomas Anchutz
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