Tuesday, December 10, 2013

something I saw--

I was looking at GAP reviews (for leggings--don't laugh!) and I saw this 5 star rating review:

"I got these for my daughter to giver her a fall season lift; she's a young mother and needs comfy stuff to wear around home. She loved them."

Isn't that the sweetest?? I'm so happy that there are other young mommies out there, caring nonstop for their babes, and still being cared for by their own moms, because oh-my-goodness do we need it.

Whenever someone holds the door open for me and my small brood, or smiles indulgently at my sour puss baby in the checkout lane, or gives us a date night out, I am overcome by gratitude, gratitude for their love for my boys and for their love for me. I never knew how much I would need it.

This motherhood thing is consistently harder than I could have ever imagined. In spite of a nagging feeling that I should be able to do this on my own, I'm so thankful for help. And for my own mom, who has done the exact same thing as this lovely woman did for her daughter. Thanks, mom. And thanks to the other lovely people out there, extending a hand to the young mommy who needs it.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

listen again

close your eyes-- listen again
to crispy leaves falling in the autumn wind,
a boy and his father hard at play,
another little one amazed by fast moving clouds,
planes, birds, squirrels
anything outside his sphere of his usual
tucked up place in the house.

keep listening
don't get up to finish dinner
--hot dogs, broccoli, pureed squash--
don't check Twitter
for heaven's sake
don't get up to write this poem.

let dinner burn
for it will all burn anyway
time and effort and lists and
or especially
these words.

what will be left
are these little voices
exclaiming in the now dark evening
sweet, blurry images to fill your memory
of moments full of life
your life their life our life together.

Monday, December 2, 2013

A Christmas gut-check

I should've expected it, I guess. I was skipping toward Advent season, enjoying my Christmas Swing station (on my TuneIn Radio app), using up turkey leftovers (making my way through this list), and generally feeling merry and somewhat proud of myself for getting myself in order for gift-giving in advance.

Cue reality. Jeremy and I had a chat about Christmas gifts that we're giving, a written list that's was longer and more expensive than the one I had in my head. Then we agreed to not get each other gifts (my idea).

The next day (which just so happened to be December 1st) I was feeling sensitive about that decision, and how quickly he had acquiesced. I started feeling pretty down about it, really. Josiah had a horrible day with teething, and I couldn't find the Christmas decorations (found out later that they're in the garage). We weren't able to do the first night of Advent. A Christmas tree has to wait until payday. A trip to St. Louis for Christmas [window] shopping, etc., becomes a question on if we can afford the gas to get there. Suddenly, the Christmas music felt hollow, and the house felt cold. So did my heart.

Praying about it today, I think God is really testing me on my cliched thoughts about a homemade Christmas, about less is more, about the true meaning of the holiday season. I want so much for the boys to grow up anticipating Jesus' birth instead of a morning filled with presents. But how can they have that experience when that's still my heart? When I judge our Christmas on what I'm getting (like from Jeremy), or even what I'm able to give, then how can the boys do anything but that too? How can Jeremy enjoy the season when it feels like his wife is saying that what he has to offer isn't enough?

I'm not saying that gift-giving is wrong, obviously. There are a few gifts that I'm excited to give, even if I still have to let go of pride because they weren't expensive. But there are lots of times in a year when we can give presents to each other; Christmas has to be about the birth of Jesus, before anything else. At least for me.

Do you have the Bible app on your smartphone? I do, and every day there is a Verse of the Day; it's basically the equivalent of randomly opening your Bible to see if God will speak to you. Today He did. I admit to breaking down and crying when I read this; the Lord knew what my Spirit needed to hear.

"And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him" (1 John 5 ESV).

No, I don't think it's necessarily in his will to ask for presents :) But I think it is in His will to ask for enough. To ask that He would truly change my heart to rejoice in His enough. To ask for his peace in being okay with giving what I have to the people I love, to trust that what I have to offer is enough for them. To ask that this Christmas would be full of joy and peace and excitement in celebrating the birth of baby Jesus, for my whole family. To ask that Elias would be enamored by the story of that sweet young savior's birth in a dark, dingy stable underneath a bright sky full of rejoicing angels.

Monday, November 25, 2013

as I look up

I am grateful for a Father who taps me on the shoulder
as I look up through tear-blurred eyes from a morning's ruins
to remind me that He is present with me in the chaos
and that His peace is mine
before I even to think to ask for it.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Gearing up

We are firmly in November now, folks. I can't believe it. It's cold enough in the house that if I sit too long I get shivery (thanks a lot, gorgeous high ceilings). Jeremy's and my birthday is next week. Soon, all this talk about beautiful leaves and pumpkin lattes is going to feel like a dream.

Christmas has been on my radar more this year than ever before. I think the reason is, is that I have been doing a lot of work this summer and fall in the kitchen, canning fruits and veggies (and sauces and jams and, and, and) for Christmas gifts. We haven't got the whole Christmas club thing down (will we ever grow up?), and that, among other financial woes, makes each Christmas feels very lean. It can take all the fun out of it. And, might I mention, the heart of it.

Sidenote: I really, really hope this planning and work making gifts comes through in the end. So many times I feel like it's not expensive enough (although in matters of time, it certainly was), that I end up wanting to supplement with something that we actually buy. That really won't be an option this year, so I'm just going to have to be okay with it. I put so much of myself into the process, so I'm hoping that the gift in their hand feels valuable.

Anyway, I've been seeking after God in this build up to Christmas and the Advent season, even now in orange and pumpkin filled November. What a holy, miraculous, breath-taking time it is, leading up to the miracle (and joy, and wonder) of Christ's birth. I hope I can share that with my family, and usher the worship of Jesus into our home this season, in the midst of (the sometimes distracting) candies and trees and presents.

Anyone else feeling the call to the Advent season yet? It's still early...there are many pumpkin pies to traverse before we get to cookies and fudge and peppermint hot chocolate and candy canes and...

p.s. I think I'm going to buy this book. The writer is fantastic, and I'm wondering if it might be really, really good.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Monday will find you

It's cold and rainy here today. 

Yesterday was gorgeous. We took a long-anticipated trip to the St. Louis zoo, which was...fun. And a lot of work with these two boys of ours.

But today it feels miserable inside and out. While the activities yesterday drew the boys attention from their challenging developmental seasons: Josiah has 6 teeth coming in SLOWLY, and E is doing his 3-going-on-14 thing, and both boys have runny noses with volumes of mucus beyond understanding, so being home today has put that behavior under a microscope. 

Anyway. Monday has certainly followed us into Tuesday. And mommy is drinking mass amounts of black tea (and surreptitiously eating bite size brownies in the kitchen) to keep her energy (and spirits!) up.

I hope that your day is going better :) And that mine ends with baths and early bedtimes for all.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

give me Jesus

In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise
Give me Jesus

Give me Jesus
Give me Jesus
You can have all this world
Just give me Jesus

Oh, when I am alone
Oh, when I am alone
Oh, when I am alone
Give me Jesus

Give me Jesus 
Give me Jesus
You can have all this world
Give me Jesus
Give me Jesus

Oh, when I come to die
Oh, when I come to die
Oh, when I come to die
Give me Jesus
Give me Jesus

Give me Jesus 
Give me Jesus
You can have all this world
Give me Jesus
Give me Jesus

In the midst of a morning baking with my kids, planning with my husband, dealing with details here and there about small happenings...

I am somberly thankful for the reminder that these days aren't permanent. That even the things and persons I hold most dearly in my heart will fade, and that only one Person will remain... Praying today for a heart that is fixated on Jesus and on the big, wide world and realities that go beyond my little house. And--

Oh, Lord-- that my boys would someday sing this, with arms outstretched to You.

(Song lyrics from this group. Beautiful rendition of an already beautiful hymn.)

Friday, August 2, 2013

still alive. also: books.

Just a little note that I, and we, are still alive over here. This last month has been a blur of potty training, housework, potty training, little day trips, canning berries. Did I mention potty training? We've only been doing it a week, but it feels like, much, much longer. I finally convinced Jeremy to hire out our lawn care. He's been working days AND nights, and has been running ragged for some time now. It will feel good to both of us to take even just one thing off of his plate. My summer of childcare is over, as my mother-in-law is heading back to work soon. How I'm going to work on my thesis now, I don't know, but it's going to have to happen.

Anyway. Too much going on in our lives to mention here. Feeling tired, but I get the feeling that this busyness is just part of a short season, so I'm just praying that we can power through with some semblance of grace, remembering to grasp hold of His joy.

Hey-- by the way, want some book recommendations? Just finished up reading this one. Currently reading this and this. Really, really want to read this. I've put it in my cart and taken it back out about a dozen times, because I'm hesitant to spend the money. I'll get the nerve one of these days, hopefully well before the holidays.

Hoping for a restorative weekend, for you and for me.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


Working on my thesis down in Paducah. Those are long days.

Our new local farmers market. It's right next to a park.

(blue eggs)

Father's day

First birthdays celebrated with good friends

And weddings too

It's been a crazy busy summer so far, but in looking at these pictures, I'm reminded of how good it's been. How blessed we are to have all these lovely people so close to us.

(Some of these pictures have been taken by others-- the last three from the farmers market by Brandon Macier, and Josiah's birthday picture by Omar and Mayumi Trinidad. More birthday pictures to follow.)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

busy summer days

Isn't it supposed to be "lazy" summer days?

Well, if it's supposed to be, it hasn't been. I've had a couple more items on my plate lately: the local farmers market that I get to help with, Josiah's first birthday party (pictures soon!), Father's Day (also pictures forthcoming!), and more work than normal with organizing our little raw milk co-op. But mostly, it's been working on my thesis. I'm feeling totally overwhelmed/sick to my stomach/more hopeful about it lately, and I've been getting time to work on it when I go down to Paducah, KY to have my mother-in-law watch the kids. I have my first meeting with my thesis director next week for the first time in years, which is good and bad. Good because it means progress is being made. Bad because I have to meet with her in person, and there won't be time to look up in the dictionary the words and theories she brings up in conversation. She is crazy smart, and I feel like I can barely keep up with her email messages, much less an informed (supposedly, on my part) conversation face-to-face.

It was nice to be busy, at first. It made me feel a little more important than usual. Now I'm just tired. Is this how other people live during the entire year? Goodness. No thanks. I'll take a season, and that'll be plenty.

How are your summers progressing? It's going to be the 4th of July before we know it...

Friday, May 31, 2013

Friday, already? And a wedding.

How on earth is it already Friday afternoon?

I've been wanting to write since Monday but haven't been able to get a chance to get to it. I started working on my thesis this week, which is totally overwhelming and horrible and great, all at the same time. It's made for a busy week. And Jeremy is in a wedding tonight, a groomsman for a friend of ours we've loved for a very long time.

I remember at our wedding coming across one of my mom's friends who was there alone. When I asked where her husband was, she told me that they were separated. "Marriage can be hard," she said. What a thing to hear at our wedding reception! I'm so thankful that I can go to weddings, and this one in particular, and say "Congratulations! Marriage is awesome!" with my husband right beside me, agreeing. Marriage is hard, but it's so, so good, and I can't wait to celebrate that fact with some of my closest friends tonight.

Our weekend will be full of our kids, and farmers markets, and more strawberries, but I can't even see that far ahead right now. I'm only thinking about getting all dressed up with my love and getting to go to a great party :)

Friday, May 24, 2013

end of the week

So this has been a hard week, a little more than usual. Jeremy had to work nights and days, going to work at 8, coming home at 5, going back in around 8, coming home at midnight or 2, or even 5 a.m. Of course, he's now sick and still not finished with the project, so he's still running a bit. And I've had the boys all to myself, which I realize is much easier than Jeremy's had it, but exhausting nonetheless. So I'm running on empty with the boys--especially Elias, who is fulfilling the prophecy of the 2 1/2 year mark being a particularly rough one. And I haven't spent time with my husband since last weekend, a weekend that was especially beautiful-- but one that seems so far away now.

So, I'm brushing off the hardships of the week and looking forward to the weekend. What in particular?

Elias is spending the night at my parents' place, so tonight should feel a little easier. They got two chickens yesterday, which E will find pretty awesome.

I have little snap peas that are ready for eating, which is just what Elias and I did yesterday, picking them off the vine, stringing them, and popping them in our mouths without so much a rinse. Love having the opportunity to have a garden in our backyard.

Local strawberries are ready! I missed them last week, but I plan on being at the farmers market in time to get them tomorrow. Maybe I can bring the boys out to the U-pick farm this next week and get a flat, which means I get to dust off the canner and find some pretty recipes for those pretty berries.

I'm helping organize a farmers market in our community! Pretty exciting stuff, and a lot of of fun to look forward to for the summer. (How much do you love that logo?? The same artist that did our beautiful wedding invitations also created this one for the market.)

One of my friends is back from Japan and the other is done with her school for a couple of weeks, which means that I get some girl time, which is badly needed. BADLY NEEDED.

And the last thing? My mother-in-law has committed to watching the boys twice weekly so that I can work on my thesis. I'm dreading it with the same intensity that I'm looking forward to it. I so want my degree to be completed. This time starts next week, so the boys and I will be traveling down to Paducah come Monday, and we'll get this party started.

I hope you guys have a fun weekend, one where you laugh and get to be silly with the ones you love most. And in the midst of family time, don't forget to seek out the One that loves you most.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

yogurt face

 No, Josiah didn't actually eat any of this yogurt, for those of you keeping up with his continuing refusal of all solid foods (sigh). But he did enjoy playing with it.

His smile is so sweet, but this boy smelled so sour afterwards :)

big boy, in his own room

We finally moved Josiah out of our room. He's been sleeping through the night for a little while now, and it seemed like a good time to give him his own space. It's been going really well, although I really miss having him close by.

I may have cried myself to sleep that first night, fyi. This babies-growing-up business is hard stuff.

His smile is the sweetest.

Big brother vroom-vroomed in to say hi to little brother, which made Josiah super excited.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

first of the season

When we get our weekly jug of raw milk, I usually skim the cream off the top and save it to make butter, but this time I decided to splurge and make ice cream instead. We ate it out back Sunday night, on a late Spring night (that felt a lot more like summer).

(By the way, Jeremy is going to kill me for posting these of him...but his handsome face isn't on this blog nearly enough. You can tell from these photos just how attentive he is to Elias; he's a great daddy.)