Thursday, November 29, 2012


When Drew asked for a cookie, I said yes.  Then he said, "Mom, if I give you a kiss can I have three cookies?"

You can bet I said yes to that!

With a sugary grin he offered up those irresistible lips and this mama relished that sweet smooch...because one day he won't be six.
But right now he is.
One day he will try to charm me into much more than a kiss...he'll want the keys to the car,
or he'll want to call a girl.

Oh my word, I just freaked out.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

One Gift

I usually begin Christmas shopping in October, quite proud of myself if I am finished by December first.  But this year is different.  This year, Thanksgiving snuck up on me and Christmas was suddenly a month away!  Against my better judgement, I have only managed to purchase one gift.  One!  And the only reason that purchase happened was that it was an item being sold at church to raise money for refugees in the Middle East.

I am way behind, folks!  Or am I?  Because when I think about it...there is a good reason my mind has not been on buying gifts.  Not only am I homeschooling, but this year I am homeschooling all five...and two of them are Kindergarteners.

Oh.  My.  Word.

My brain has been consumed with phonics and readers and addition and skip-counting, not to mention Gracie's second grade work, planning and overseeing the 5th and 6th graders, and just keeping the house in some semblance of order which has not exactly left a lot of time for things like "Making a list and checking it twice!"

So instead of stressing about the shopping that still needs to be done, I am cutting myself some slack.  I will probably go online at some point and knock it all out with some free shipping to boot, and maybe even get around to addressing those Christmas cards!  I will drink a lot of coffee (with peppermint!) and let my kids lounge in front of a Christmas Movie because it is cold outside.  I will light candles and sing carols and stop...just stop and be still and take time to worship my King.  I am looking forward to Advent even more than usual this year.  I'm sure it is because of the busyness we have endured enjoyed this is just time to take a breath and focus on what is most important.  God's gift to us...ridiculous grace swaddled up and squirmy and lying in a filthy feeding trough.

Yes!  This is the One Gift that really counts:  Jesus!  Let's fix our eyes upon Him and anticipate His birth celebration with a holy joy!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Gratitude and such.

So we are germ free.  A basketball season just ended, officially freeing up our Sunday afternoons for a while.  The Christmas tree and various sparkly, flecked, and musical knick-knacks are awaiting unpacking and assembly...AFTER Thanksgiving.

(Because, no matter how much I heart Christmas I absolutely refuse to usurp Thanksgiving!  After the Turkey is successfully slain the tree will go up in victory and "O Holy Night" will reverberate throughout my house!)

Our semester of school is winding down and we should be able to enjoy almost the entire month of December with just an occasional math lesson to keep up the skillz, and I am very happy that I will have that time to spend baking, creating, and enjoying the season for all it is worth with my sweet crew.

Tomorrow I begin the packing extravaganza so we can join our family in San Antonio for Thanksgiving.  The kids are so excited.

By the way.  I hate packing.

But I love that we will be in a hotel...with a pool...and in-room coffee.

I love that cousins will reconnect and my nieces will fill us with tales of college life.

I love that three generations will feast and thank God together, then sit back with full tummies to cheer for the Dallas Cowboys.  (Don't judge.)

I love that coming home will mean the beginning of the most wonderful time of the year and our Elf will return to confound the kiddos each morning.
Until then, though, I just want to thank Him for blessing us so abundantly.  We have food.  We have shelter.  We have closets full of clothes and a nice car.  We have pets and TV's and a cabinet full of board games.  My children have an earthly father who models their heavenly One so well.  We are healthy and happy and I am blessed to be their mom, their teacher, and their cheerleader.  We have more than enough, and we get to share.  We are blessed and we have Jesus and forgiviness already in place every time we mess up and lose focus.  God's mercy awakens us and the blood of Jesus washes us clean.

Oh, give thanks to the Lord for He is good!  His love endures forever!

And I leave you with this.  We sang this in church this morning and, well, I was a teary mess by the end.  If this doesn't make you fall to your knees in gratitude, I don't know what will...

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends!  Count your blessings...taste and see the Lord is good!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Goodbye and good riddance!

It started with Mari, then moved on to miss Gracie.  Next in line was Drew.

I am ready for this viral junk to be out of my house.

Snotty noses, fevers, and chesty coughs, whining and hungry and puking and oh boy it has been a rough week.

But in the trenches of germ warfare I have emerged, victorious, with coffee in hand.

I have snuggled and swiped noses and given gallons, I'm sure, of medicine to kids who can't stand the stuff.  I have promised candy to take away the taste, oh yes I have.
I have reheated the reheated leftovers and made Ramen noodles at least 6 times.
I have consumed a lot of coffee.  A lot.
The kids have watched way too much TV and I have stayed up way too late in order to enjoy just a little quiet...just a few pages of a book, and maybe a glass of vino. 

And now, just minutes ago, when I announced the TV is staying off and they need to find something useful...maybe even do?  Well they submitted their complaints, were told once again "No, you may NOT play a video game/play with my Kindle/watch TV/get on the computer" and the response was stunning:

Gracie is practicing piano.

DJ is reading.

Drew just announced he is going to 4:00 in the afternoon.

Ah, I love normalcy.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Two Years Home...

She ran to me that first day.  I will never forget that moment as long as I live.
She didn't really understand what lay ahead...and neither did I.

It was harder than we expected, and I failed her...that I know.
On the days when I tried to love and teach in my own strength, when I relaxed because things had calmed, I failed.

I didn't expect this child, described as always happy, to still be struggling to attach.  But she is.
I didn't expect my heart to fear, to wish I had done things this point.  But it has.

But God...

He is so faithful.

In my desperation I cried out to Him.  "Lord, it would be easier if she had been sick.  Her wounds are invisible and I struggle to see them, struggle to understand.  Help me."

Help me.

In two years she has not had more than a runny nose.  She hasn't needed my comfort since those first days before communication was possible.  She has resisted and run and I have wondered how to nurture a child who doesn't want nurturing.

The very next day, she came downstairs where I sat with my Bible open, spending time with Jesus before the kids came down and our typical morning busyness began.

"Can I have some water?"

It was earlier than her usual waking hour.  I picked her up to give a hug and oh, her skin was like a furnace.

She was a very sick little girl.

I held her for 24 solid hours as her fever raged, hovering between 101 and 105 degrees.  I slept beside her and comforted her as she whimpered and in the midst of it all I thanked God.

Oh yes, I thanked Him for letting her lean into me, for the bitter-sweetness of illness and the bonding that took place in those moments during the night when she was shivering and I prayed health back into her little body.
She sought my touch, sought my skin, nestling her head into the curve of my neck perfectly.  She melted into me and I held her tight.  Her siblings prayed for her and loved her well.

Was this the turning point?  It is too soon to tell.  I pray that it was.  But even if it is not, I am freshly aware of my desperate need for the Holy Spirit to enable me to mother this little brood.  Funny how He has to remind me of that periodically.  You would think I would have that engraved on my forehead by now.


Happy Gotcha day, my beautiful baby girl.  We are in this together, for the long haul.  I pray your spirit opens fully to the security of your place in our family.  I pray you will heal in those hidden places, and that your little heart will relax.  We love you forever.


Friday, November 9, 2012


I was a little sad when the leaves were gathered today.
I love the beautiful messiness of Autumn.

Crunching and nuts underfoot punctuated by color so bold it takes my breath away... 

As the nights breathed cold the dew settled longer, 
jewels perched atop the discarded and fallen cloak.

Acorns, with their perfect little elf-hats, remind me of the gathering taking place by creatures high above.
Preparation is underway for the soon-coming winter. 

Now we begin the retreat...
To warmth.
To soft blankets.
To cuddles with a warm cup of tea.

And we prepare to give thanks for the grace and mercy He so freely lavishes upon us.
Yes, in this season we must give thanks.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Soccer Season that Was...

It was a sweet one this year.

He played up a level because his birthday is so late and, well,
he is so tall.

And the boy has skills...
(Not that I am biased.)

Not-so-little legs pumped hard and scored.  High-fives and bursts of boy joy
lit up the faces of them all.

Moms and Dads smiled proudly as the sweaty athletes assembled for the highlight of any
sporting event.


And when the season was over we relished the late Saturday mornings once again, slowing life down just a bit to enjoy the delights of autumn.