Thursday, September 19, 2013

I will love. More. So much love that no one will have any idea what to do with me. They will watch with a confused look and wonder why I give so much and do not ask for more in return. I will give it because giving Is getting and there is nothing quite so important as emptying your heart every single day and leaving nothing undone, no declarations of it unsaid.

I will not only stop and smell the flowers, I will plant them myself and watch them grow old with me. I will pull over and dance in every single rainfall, and I will make snow angels even when there is hardly any snow left for the wings.

I will never, ever believe in the words "too late" because it is never too late to be exactly who you wish, do exactly what you should, say exactly what needs to be heard, and live the exact life you should be living. 

~ Tyler Knott Gregson

Monday, August 26, 2013

Life is a Vapor

My mom stood by the washing machine crying not long before I left for college.  And I was sorry that she was sad, but I was so ready to go.  And I couldn't really understand.  But I get it a little more every day.  I miss every moment of their lives that have already passed and already feel them slipping through my fingers. "Life is a vapor" is something that mothers live and breathe daily.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Keane - Somewhere Only We Know

 This was the song in my head today.  You're welcome. :)

From my husband and Bob Marley

Brian posted this on my facebook wall this week:

"Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more. You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement. They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful. There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are. The things that seem insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become invaluable treasures kept safe in your heart to cherish forever. Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it’s like being young again. Colours seem brighter and more brilliant. Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or didn’t exist at all. A phone call or two during the day helps to get you through a long day’s work and always brings a smile to your face. In their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, but you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby. Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you. You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do. Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon. You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible. You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it scares you. You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life." ~Bob Marley

The Vows that Bind

Rose was reenacting a Christmas in July wedding that we attended a couple of days ago with her play figures, including singing "Silent Night" and many rounds of the "Christmas Cannon". But my favorite part was the vows for her bride," I promise to love and protect you, wash your clothes and feed you, and never depart."

Friday, May 17, 2013

All you have is now

“You think you will never forget any of this, you will remember it always just the way it was. But you can't remember it the way it was. To know it, you have to be living in the presence of it right as it is happening. It can return only by surprise. Speaking of these things tells you that there are no words for them that are equal to them or that can restore them to your mind. And so you have a life that you are living only now, now and now and now, gone before you can speak of it, and you must be thankful for living day by day, moment by moment, in this presence.
But you have a life too that you remember. It stays with you. YOu have lived a life in the breath and pulse and living light of the present, and your memories of it, remember now, are of a different life in a different world and time. When you remember the past, you are not remembering it as it was. You are remembering it as it is. It is a vision or a dream, present with you in the present, alive with you in the only time you are alive.”

― Wendell Berry, Hannah Coulter

Now with Bella's big hugs and her tiny frame clinging to me, and her read just one more book pleas.  Now with Rose's tumultuous trying-to find-her place and just be loved while not being pushed around.  With her endless twirling dancing and leaping.  Now with Anna turning young woman with her helping hands and graciousness interspersed with her crazy giddy silly-girlness.  Now with Ethan's beautiful boy soprano voice singing in tones whose days are numbered.  With his mature, thoughtful interactions and boyish fights with his sisters.  Now with Brian trying so hard to be everything he wants and needs to be with this ugly disease frustrating him at every turn.  Now with the Sadie-dog curled up at my feet and more than a tad stinky.  Now is all we have.  I am not guaranteed tomorrow for myself.  And I'm not guaranteed to have these dear ones for one more day.  I have to learn to live fully now.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Gardening With Children

Spring is coming, and you're ready to plant a garden with your children. Children are natural gardeners. They anticipate every new shoot. They take pleasure in sowing seeds, and keeping them watered. The key is to continue to reward their initial enthusiasm with their own equipment and spaces, quick results, and fun additions.

The anticipation will begin long before the garden soil is turned. Read gardening books together, look at seed catalogs, make an early trip to the garden center, and talk about the type of garden you would like to have and what you will plant. Let your child choose some seeds and, if you've planned ahead, begin some seeds indoors.

Before you get started on your garden, purchase some simple equipment suited to your child. A set of child-sized hand tools, gardening boots or clogs, and pint-sized watering can will engage them as workers and contributors to the family garden. Throw in some safe, natural bug repellent and sunscreen and you will avoid a less than satisfactory beginning.

Now start by creating spaces just for your child. This could be their own small plot, but it could also be a special structure within your larger garden. Consider planting a bean tepee, sunflower house, or fairy garden. Set aside a small area for them to plant a pizza garden. Let them choose native host plants for a butterfly garden. Your little ones will be happily occupied in their own space, while you care for your own.

Quick results keep children engaged. While they may not enjoy eating radishes, they will be delighted at how quickly they can harvest their first crop. If you haven't started seeds indoors, be sure to allow children to choose some seedlings at the garden center. Not only will the trip to choose delight them, the quicker returns will also foster a sense of accomplishment that will, in turn, foster a positive attitude about gardening.

Add fun, child-friendly features to your garden. Create a toad house from an old pot. Collect unique garden decorations. Paint stones together to mark vegetable rows or line the edge of the garden. Add some stump stools, a picnic table, or a small bench. Or, best of all, choose a water feature, such as a bubbler, water wall, or small fish pond. All of these choices will encourage imaginative play and result in more happy hours in the garden.

Container gardening is very child-friendly. Allow them to help you plant hanging planters full of flowers for the front porch and upside-down tomato planters for the deck. Fill a large container with seed potatoes for a great surprise when you dump them at harvest. Start a container herb garden. Plant a window box of carrots if the weather is still cool. Fill a strawberry pot. Containers are such a versatile option for families with limited yard space for a garden.

However you choose to garden, multiply your enjoyment by sharing it with your child. Take the time to do the planning and the work together, and the pleasure of watching things grow, and spending time with you, will set a precedent for them to enjoy a lifetime of gardening.

Pretend Play

I love facilitating my kids play. One of my favorite parts of being a mom.
Today it's a road trip in Brian's dead car. Ethan is the dad and father, Anna, the mother. I let Ethan take my real cell phone out, they have the car loaded with babies and blankets and pillows, and I'm getting ready to refill some kids QT cups with kool-aid. Think I might print some car games too.  Then Ethan's going to call ahead to "Chick-Fil_A" to see if the drive-thru is ready with the chicken nuggets and waffle fries that I was lucky enough to have in my freezer.
Thursdays are becoming sheet day, when the sheets get changed, they are made into tent structures before being deposited in the laundry.
Impromptu parties, picnics, and explorations beckon.
Sensory materials like sand, artificial snow, and play-doh are eager to come alive and become a fantasy realm.
So why not jump in and help your children create their imaginations today?  You might have as much fun as they do.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Beginning Lent

Today was Ash Wednesday.  So we did a little fasting, and spent the time with our journals.  We wrote our sins on slips of paper.  You know, the big ones that we struggle with every day, as well as some of the things that crop up throughout the day.  We put them in the repentance box.  We'll add to it as we're convicted.  Perhaps having to add to the box will cause some pausing before unkindness and selfishness are displayed.  Maybe we'll remember the price for those sins. On Good Friday, we'll burn them, and the cost of our redemption will be visible and grace will look extravagant.

But today we began this journey of small changes and more contemplation.  The season that gives us a chance to change to be more like Jesus.  Not that we don't have it every day, but this is a season to intentionally bring things back into balance.  To slow down.  To pray more.

We wrote three columns in our journals.  Pray - Fast - Give.  We wrote down things to pray for in our time that we have freed up by fasting from food or excesses or distractions.  We wrote down what we intend to give up, as well as the more profitable thing with which we plan to replace it.  New habits.  We tried to think of ways to share what God has given us.

Then we laughed.  Because Rose is crazy.  And she decided to give up being crazy for Lent.  I told her how I didn't see how that would work.  But she made her eyes big and wild, and rattled her head around with a great noise, and said that that was the kind of crazy she was giving up.  The extreme crazy things that she does from time to time.  And after that demonstration, we agreed that, perhaps, it was a very good idea after all.  Then I asked what she thought we could give, and she said, "food to the poor!"  I told her that she needed to be more specific.  So she reminded me of the homeless man that often hangs out near a local Walmart and told me that we need to get him some Little Ceasars.  She'd apparently remembered from years ago, when we had nothing else to offer and had gotten him something there.

So today Rose is giving up being crazy for Lent.  And she intends to give "pizza to the poor!"  We'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Our special place

We found Shelter 6 when we couldn't get Shelter 3 for Bella's birthday.  I thought it was kind of sad.  I had planned a Dora the Explorer birthday.  The cupcakes were the right colors and the decorations were in theme.  But the scavenger hunt and activities were not needed and left undone.  Because, it turned out that Shelter 6 is right beside a wide, shallow creek.  We didn't know it was there.  And there's an open grassy area, and a rest room, and a drinking fountain.  And even a cool hollow with large tree roots and hanging vines - a natural fort.  In short, everything children need to be perfectly happy.

Later, we discovered that the trail just across from the shelter was an easy walk to another lovely part of the creek with stairs for access, and just up from that, an old waterworks that looks like a castle, with a waterfall dam, and above that a pristine mountain lake.  Our new favorite walk.

We met friends there.  We take hot dogs in the crockpot.  We make fires in the shelter fireplace and make smores.  We bring hot tea and cocoa.

Last night, we decided to try a rainy day at the shelter.  I even thought maybe we'd try Shelter 3 again to shake it up a little.  But Shelter 6 is our shelter now.  The children insisted on it.  The floors of the shelters were all wet.  I hadn't expected that.  And we hadn't managed to set aside wood in a dry place, so there was no fire, but it was a mild day.  So we brought bags of freshly popped microwave popcorn and a thermos of hot green tea.  We talked and the children played Pokemon cards at the table and even tested out the creek (yes, it was my idea, but they only got their feet wet ;) .  And we breathed in fresh woodsy air.  Then we finished off with a couple of rounds of Crazy Eights.  It was a lovely way to spend an hour and a half just before dark on a wet day.  

We can't wait to do it again.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Our word for the year.  A year in which I hope to regain some better discipline for myself and my family.  A year in which we remember how to speak with kindness and treat others the way we would like to be treated.  A year in which we again renew our efforts to teach our kids as much Scripture and as much about Jesus as they can hold.  And then find ways to reach out to those around us.