Painted Toes and a Polka Dot Skirt

 

We are on our way to a Memorial Day picnic.

Maryland is in full bloom.

Her sky, an ocean in texture and mood,

today awash in puffs and sleeves of wisping cotton.

The landscape rolling away in breaking sunlight.

Everything green and golden.

My heart so light and free.

In fun and high spirits, I spontaneously paint toes. It feels so carefree, and I think I can probably count on one hand how many times in 18 years I have painted my own toes. Truth. I rarely feel carefree.

I paint to match my wee girls who chose colors during little girl club(whose toes are painted frequently- all things considered) earlier in the week… and whose wee feet tripping brightly through the hours of the days

have

leant their own lightness to my heart.

Somehow, painted toes always seem so carefree

to me. And, while I

so rarely

feel carefree-

–today,

toes and polka dots

for me.

There are many different ways to shine a candle in the darkness; celebrate beauty among workaday duties; rejoice in all things;

A smear of lipstick, the flowering beauty flooding my Instagram stream, chocolate cupcakes tucked away in a quiet room with my youngest son, a tale told of birds at a feeder during a work day – and I see the cardinal; I see the chickadee, a little girl running determinedly barefoot in the grass, an imperfect poetry party and picnic in the yard,

and painted toes for me.

I choose joy.

 

 

May 1st, 2018

Micah ranked up to Eagle Scout (8 p.m) and made a College Choice Decision (8 a.m.).

I scanned and emailed Honors College and Scholar Forms that were due today…

We discovered that two physical merit badges were missing…which led to an investigation of a possible need to take a trip to the (far away) Scout shop (we didn’t have to…)

I had an unfortunate issue relating to a job that caused the overturn of purse and backpack-

which then led

to me forgetting to put my wallet back in my purse (unknowingly)

while traversing to a piano lesson and then the store- where I proceeded to fill my cart with needed items for dinner and unknowingly- no wallet.

To which God provided miraculously through said purse (but not through my wallet) 

which was then located at home, safely placed, in the wrong purse.

To which, then, dinner was made – and a Scouting Uniform attended to-

and then the grand load up of kith and kin to attend Micah’s major milestone-

which involved traversing in two cars- for a reason which shall remain un-named-

forthwith- we all arrived in due time and crunched together in one small room-

Waiting the momentous event and enjoying cell phone pictures of a wee baby bunny and

a pool newly opened- from Pennsylvania family

to which we were the happy recipients of the next Troop 9 Eagle Scout and a long, hard journey completed-

which, hopefully, oldest son will always hold in his heart.

Because, he

chose Eagle.

It was an infamous, difficult, anxious, finally completed

day.

And this verse-

Isaiah 40:31 ESV; emphasis mine

31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
    they shall mount up with wings like

EAGLES

they shall run and not be weary;
    they shall walk and not faint.

 

 

 

Mentoring Mondays: Mission of Motherhood Chapter 5 Part 1

All quotations taken from 2003; Waterbrook Press

Chapter 5: The Discipling Mother

I want them to leave my home with a hunger and passion to know God personally and be used by him to accomplish great things for His kingdom. I want them to personally hear God’s voice and have his Spirit’s gentle touch and impression on their hearts as they read Scripture and struggle with the issues of their lives….Whatever else we give our children as they grow, he wants us to pass along an eternal vision, and purpose, as well as passion for Christ. If we are wise, we will keep this goal ever before us— to keep us focused on what really matters, on the ultimate purpose of our activity as parents.  Chp 5 pg 80

I ponder these words. I stand on the cusp of one of my young men beginning the first leg of his journey outside our home. I can truthfully say that I do not think I have done well imparting some of this to him. I have felt very motivated my entire motherhood to prepare my son well to be a strong provider for a family that the Lord might one day grant him. I have wanted him to be able to lead with integrity and intellect in any sphere the Lord might have for him.

Page 83 discusses the reality of life and the pressure that is felt in every arena to measure up to the world’s standards.

The focus must always be the heart. Not the external standard- and this also applies to external standards of behavior that a Christian parent can become so caught up in. It is the heart that matters and the heart is the pre-eminent place of importance in Christ.

The fact that the word heart appears more than eight hundred times in any Bible translation should tell us something about how important  our children’s hearts are to God. The first great commandment given in Deuternonomy (and quoted later by Jesus) is “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” (6:5; also Luke 10:27). Chp 5 pg 84

Note: the biblical meaning of heart encompasses far beyond the scope of the physical organ pumping blood through our bodies.

Heart in the biblical sense is a much deeper, more meaningful word. The vast majority of the eight hundred occurrences in the Bible refers to the mental, emotional core of  a person. In a sense, the biblical heart of a person is the core of that person’s being– who she really is inside. The word heart encompasses her inner thoughts, her true feelings, her motivations, the very seat of  personhood. Chp 5 pg 84

The discipling focus in this chapter is broken down into sub-topics like this:  a plan for shaping hearts, being “with” our children,  instructing our children, training our children, guarding our children’s influences.

Sally Clarkson offers insight, depth, and instruction for each of these areas. She emphasizes the importance of being intentional about impacting the hearts of our children and that the discipleship model presented through Scripture is one of a long life relationship. In and out of many days, living life together, imparting the reality of real faith to our precious children -and the only way I can do that- is to nurture and develop my own faith and walk! I am pondering the concepts surrounding guarding influences. I have walked with this for many years- and we are currently more relaxed than we have been in earlier years. Some of this comes from having such older children now. Things are so very different. I am prayerfully pondering this in light of all my darlings.

I pray that the Lord helps me to keep my focus on the heart and He gives me wisdom to guide my children correctly and carefully. I pray that no cloud of apathy, laziness, or film of fatigue would allow me to overlook anything that might endanger my children or lead them astray.

Thanks for reading here! Be blessed dear ones!

As always, I welcome your reflections on what this means for you or your home/family.

-Rebecca

Endless Gifts

From February:

A late night talk with Nathanael and the importance of current events, a Lego Minifig in my inbox, Christian worldview, and his “like” on my 66books because he loves me. 🙂 and…sharing Fridays there with him.

Tea with Joshua and more tea times in my planner

Plum Paper!!!! (and stickers) and somehow life feels way more manageable… and somehow, I am much more confident in the driver seat of this life… with these navigating tools.

Hormones (as in hormone replacement therapy- been so very, very helpful for me)

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies made by the youngest baker we have had yet (Joshua)

A tin of tea that is amazing again, again, again. I love it all.

Roses! Crimson, fragrant. From Micah.

Valentine’s Day and the dear, sweet friend who helped me rally…and silly tongue twisters around the table… and the most amazing smell as dinner wafted through all the house times two… first, the savory meat and vegetables… and then! the bread. Warm and home-made. The best smells in the world.

Little girlies in heart tunics… so excited on Valentine’s Day… and all dressed up… and reminding me again, and again- to lay out their clothes night(s) before- so I wouldn’t forget. And I didn’t. (thank You, Lord.)

Thinking on last year’s word {freedom} thinking again, and again….

Todd grocery shopping on Saturday…creamer, and coconut yogurt, and juice, and fruit…relief.

******************************************************************

March Into April

the day the snow fell soft, huge, and thick… in March

Easter Book Read Alouds

Birthday Celebrations

an afternoon holding a new baby nephew

a face to face video call with a brother and another {darling}  nephew

a purple purse from my sister

a whisk of a visit from my Mom and all the wonderful provisions

a visit to see my Aunt with Ryan (although this was the day I think I started with the flu..- the visit was still very good!!)

tucked in cozy in my bed when the wind rattles and shakes the house

time to begin counting gifts again… it’s time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Easter 2018

Blessed Easter!!

Easter 2018 comprised of Easter “Love” Baskets stuffed with safe chocolates, sweets, and Empty Tombs.  My little one helped stuff some eggs with jelly beans and fruit gems. She helped me stuff them Saturday evening while listening to the Resurrection Eggs Devotional readings. What a darling, eager helper she is!

Special for this year- small chocolate eggs wrapped in foil from AmandasOwn– that were actually decorative when unwrapped- so pretty; a chocolate cross lollipop and our traditional lamb lollipop; Chocolates from No Whey

Tulips on the Table

Safe Treats from Aunt Nikki with Love

A Bowl full of Starburst jellybeans

Home-made Peanut Butter Cups

Rice Krispy Treats

Easter Dinner:

Ham

Mashed Potatoes

Special Green Beans

Tossed Salad

Applesauce in glass dishes

I took two separate lovely walks with dear ones. We spent a wonderful time around the four accounts of Jesus Resurrection this morning as a family. We enjoyed the bright glow of light for the last day or Lenten Lights after dinner- He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!

And- the soundtrack of the classic Ben-Hur has played against the background of our afternoon and evening.

I do not have any good pictures to share from this day. I count myself blessed that I was able to be among my family and managed to fill  baskets full with love, joy, and chocolate. 🙂

I spent the whole week prior in quarantine in my room- and mostly in bed- with, I believe, Influenza B.

It was mild, as far as the flu goes, and true to B in adults. But, still days of fever and fatigue. It started on Sunday- with a terrible headache and fatigue- that I thought was merely exhaustion. I was wrong.

I am still weak- although stronger than yesterday. I was able to enjoy our Resurrection Egg tradition yesterday- and managed a very small walk outside with Joshua. I also took a nap. This illness exhausted me.

During my time “away”— alone in my room, (after the first two or three days down)  I was able to listen to podcasts and think. This was very good for my soul. I am percolating all the things I listened to and pondering.

So many things.

Today, there was birdsong, and golden light, and a pink, streaked sunset. There was my arm in his, and the fresh, chill air of early Spring.

There was a companionable walk with a teen son and our shared love of bird and skyscape.

There were brightly colored eggs and jelly beans. Yellow and White tulips. The Spring Green Tablecloth.

There was a “hatchamable” party- earlier in the day.  It took awhile to “hatch” those toys from Ama and Grandad- and it took a lot of love, too.

It was simple, and it was good. And, I still feel like I am recovering… and not quite all the way back. All in all, I am grateful- and ready for bed again!

A Poem for Easter:

Easter Wings by George Herbert

Lord, who createdst man in wealth and store,
      Though foolishly he lost the same,
            Decaying more and more,
                  Till he became
                        Most poore:
                        With thee
                  O let me rise
            As larks, harmoniously,
      And sing this day thy victories:
Then shall the fall further the flight in me.
My tender age in sorrow did beginne
      And still with sicknesses and shame.
            Thou didst so punish sinne,
                  That I became
                        Most thinne.
                        With thee
                  Let me combine,
            And feel thy victorie:
         For, if I imp my wing on thine,
Affliction shall advance the flight in me.

Happy Easter, friends!!!

~Rebecca

 

The Things They Say

I noticed recently… a wee, small girl’s appetite picked up. She was hungry. Frequently.

A little while later… she came to me to whisper in my ear:

“Mommy, I think I’m growing. I was walking down the stairs and I felt myself taller.”

Then… a little while after that… she went to her slightly taller twin sister… and discussed the matter with her. This led to the following moment- which was authentic- although I did then stage it to capture it fully… as they stood back to back to get a “feel” of their heights.  This young one has a twin who is taller, and who has lost a tooth well before hers has even loosened.  It is a bit of a trial at times. 😉 She takes it with good grace.

*****************************************************************************

I smile at my little girls enjoying luxury bubbles. One says, “You are the nicest Mommy with your smile!” I make a remark of surprise about this (and I think in my mind… didn’t I just read a post (it was Mystie Winkler- Simply Convivial) about the power of a smile and a hug?… it really is true! I need to write that down…) and then one girl remarks to the other about dear friends of ours who have “big” girls who have a special, special bond with our “little” girls… and their smile(s). (She was talking about you, Johanna. 🙂 – the impact of your smile!!! )

*****************************************************************************

Driving home on birthday night…the happy conversation turns to the birthday meal awaiting us.

A certain small son remembers a “glorious” meal at Ama’s…

“where there were hot dogs with no limit, hamburgers, and roasted (on the grill) corn on the cob”

The talk swirls in memory around those delicious roasted corn cobs…, the hamburgers…and of course, the hot dogs!

Hot dogs with no limits. At our house, the limit is two. Protection from over-consumption of nitrates and other bad components. But at Ama’s- the provision of food and the bounty is notorious! And… it has made a strong impression!

It was glorious! “Hot dogs with no limits”

The Things They Say (and do).

She’s Five

My darling turned five today (3.8) and this post is for her, not for me, although I so desperately want to write the post that is for me- the one that reflects on the reality of leaving the preschool years behind (for now… what hopeful words those are….for now) and the heart full and mind overwhelming stage I find myself in. How is it that you can look back on your own self with such nostalgia? But I do.

But for her… this day…

 

was full of three, small chirping girlies….

-and there was one who struggled a bit to find happiness in her sister’s special day. After a personal struggle, she managed to turn it around- I am grateful to say- and it is noteworthy- because said girl recognized it, reflected on it, and remarked on her turn-around later (during the cookie party).  She chose what was good. I am so glad.

 

It was full of a slow, unfolding delight.

 

Special Breakfast: Cinnamon Roll Biscuits, Scrambled Eggs, Berries

 

Birthday song and Pictures

 

Her choice of hymn: Go Tell It On The Mountain

A stab at a birthday poem: we settled for Now We Are Six.

It wasn’t quite …but we made do.

A blessing.

 

A birthday gift (or two)

 

Long hours at play

 

The start of a new chapter book at rest time- and what SOLID delight to begin Misty of Chincoteague!

 

A whirlwind spin outside in the cold (for them, not me)

 

Everyone- all of us (minus Todd) home all. day.  All day.  I don’t think I fully realized this until now, and I certainly didn’t make the most of this. But, now, in this moment- I realize.

 

A drive out to Boy Scouts and four I love playing “I Spy” all the way home…

 

Her dinner: Hot dogs and rolls, chips, carrots, cucumbers, peppers, special sauce, raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries. Lemonade.

 

A bubble bath (with jets that somehow ramped the experience up to the best day of the whole year! and rocketed me into best Mommy position!)

 

Tiny painted toes

 

A Cookie Celebration Party and Lemonade in blue polka dot tea cups

 

The Promise of a Family Party on Sunday with Gifts, and Cake, and Pizza, and Popcorn.

 

Elenorah.

 

She’s Five.

 

 

 

Mentoring Mondays: Mission of Motherhood Chapter 4 Part 2

So, I lost my book for awhile…well, more than awhile.  And that is just like me in this season…that has spanned these many years. But thankfully! in the midst of Thanksgiving clean-up, it was rediscovered and I am back.  (and now it’s February! But I am on it! 🙂 ) 

This is Part 2 of Chapter 4 from Mission of Motherhood: The Servant Mother

And yet somewhere, over the years, the Lord convicted me that the future was not where real life began. Each day was God’s perfect will for me. There would be no wasted years of “just taking care of the needs of my young children.” (page 68)

O! This spoke to me! As I stand on the cusp of my first graduation, and I look down many years of my mothering journey behind and before, these words are for my very heart this day and this season.  Each day is God’s perfect will for me. Each day, making juice cups, and brushing hair, eyeing college applications and emails, and supervising online classes, teaching grammar and writing, and science, and Bible. Talking with teens and tucking in littles. O, that this would sink deep in my heart and that I would do better!

For thought and reflection:

These are the four Scriptures offered at the end of this chapter:

Matthew 20:25-28 English Standard Version (ESV)

25 But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,[a] 27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave,[b] 28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

John 15:12-13 English Standard Version (ESV)

12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

Philippians 2:14-15 English Standard Version (ESV)

14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,

Luke 1:38 English Standard Version (ESV)

38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant[a] of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

 

Passage 2 and passage 4 are the ones that resound most strongly for my heart at this time. John 15:12-13 is a motivating call toward ministry flowing out of love. It delights my heart and fills my soul to know that I know Jesus more intimately when I walk with Him (as He walked in ministry) with my precious family. I know the power of His life laying down for me, when I live likewise. I know Him in His love poured out, as I pour out in Him.  Luke 1:38 speaks to my heart of surrender and it has been a passage that has been close to me through many years of child-bearing. Sally speaks of reflecting about what it cost Mary throughout her life to respond in this manner to the Holy Spirit. “What did it cost Mary throughout her life to be available to God?” (page 76)  This is timely for me as the surrender is costing me in new and different ways in this season. My focus is wrong if I am expecting or thinking that leisure and ease are to be mine. The precious blessing is in giving up my rights and this is a surrender that occurs again and again. The truth is, the intimacy and fulfillment in God are far greater and more satisfying than anything the world can offer- and Mary walked in that reality when she surrendered. May that reality be mine, too. As seasons change, and child-bearing ends, it is timely for me to remember that this godly heart response can be and is still mine.

May Jesus draw you close, precious Mamas. May your week be full of grace. May you know what it is to be precious and cherished as you prize the ones in your care,

~Rebecca

 

Mentoring Mondays: Mission of Motherhood Chapter 4 Part 1

All quotations taken from 2003; Waterbrook Press

Chapter 4: The Servant Mother

This chapter is so very convicting for me and I know I need to renew my mind to serve with joy and for Jesus.  This is such a timely chapter for me as I stand at the forefront of a new school year, and the many opportunities for service are truly unending.

(Note #1:  We are now about half-way through the school year and I refresh myself in these notes I have written here… as I face the start of a brand new week- which will hold many opportunities to serve and witness Jesus through that service, I renew my mind in the Lord!)

Note #2: I have to take breaks. You might have to, also. Pace yourself Mama. Tend to yourself, too.

I recently read a friend’s post on Facebook -and she said- in reference to homeschooling her large family- “…I’m giving it my all. All for You.”  What a witness this caused in my soul. May this be the cry of my heart, too, and the overflow of my life.

As I have grown through the last eighteen years of  motherhood, however, I’ve come to appreciate the importance of the many thousands or routine moments in a mother’s life, for it is in these moments that real greatness tends to be caught and taught. It is certainly important to grasp the great calling of motherhood and respond to a vision for what a family can be. But it’s the way I respond to my children in everyday moments that gives me the best chance of winning their hearts.  If I have integrity and patience in the small moments of life that are so important to my children, and if I approach them with a servant’s heart, I have a far better chance of influencing them in the larger and more critical issues of life.  page 63

This chapter was encouraging, convicting, and renewing for me. I am in a similar season of life that Sally was in as she was writing this book. Her oldest was eighteen and her youngest- 6. My oldest is seventeen and my youngest- 4.5. It was sweet to read something so relatable. I especially felt this when I read the story about her son who was in search of a last minute shirt/uniform for an evening event. O, yes. I need to see these situations as opportunities. I know that Sally Clarkson has been faithful in this area in her family and I also know that her ability in this area has come from her relationship with the Lord. He fills her and then she has something to pour out.  I have always treasured an understanding that the heart of my children is precious and the heart is the landscape where I want to dwell and walk in love.

Attitude, I have found makes all the difference when it comes to serving our children. Serving with joy in the midst of messes and difficulty can only be done when we walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. When we are joyful and see each minute with our children as an opportunity to worship God through our service of him, our children sense our joy and feel secure and happy. page 72

I do not serve with joy. I struggle to serve. I am not a doer by nature. I marvel at those who are so efficient and task oriented. I have been also been blessed by the work of such ones’ hands. I find I do best when I cast a vision for myself and my home. I am able to serve more fully and with greater joy when I infuse the tasks with meaning and beauty.

At the same time, we mothers need to recognize what a powerful effect our attitude has on our children. Laying down our lives for them can indeed mean giving up, for their sakes, our right to wallow in our negative feelings. And choosing the path of servant leadership certainly means making the effort to respond in faith to our circumstances and feelings, turning to the Lord for help in maintaining a hopeful attitude. The beauty of such an effort, of course, is that it has the power to lift us up even as it sustains our children’s spirits. page 73

Serving for beauty and for joy does elevate the tasks with meaning and hope for me, which in turn, lifts my spirits and countenance. I do not take joy just from doing.

As a homeschooling mother, I have many, many daily opportunities to serve with joy and gladness. I also have many, many opportunities for my children to encounter my weakness and frailty. I experience His grace in and through it all. I need to reset myself for service.

12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.  Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV

I can only know this joy by knowing Him.

12 Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees,13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. 14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. Hebrews 12: 12-14 ESV

I find my best self when I find myself in Him. In order for me to be the servant leader the Lord has called me to be, I must refresh my soul in Him. This is the main focus I am pondering from Chapter 4.

What about you?

All my love,

Rebecca

Endless Gifts-January into February

Scouts ranking up: Tenderfoot; Life… on, on.

a sleep-in day

ballet class carpool and it is blessed relief

ACT test prep take two (son #2)… smarter than he thinks he is and O! such a wonderful son

my foot healing ( sort of- trying to avoid doctor visit)

his insistence that I read the book I gave him so we can discuss it

66books and Sundays…find me here

A dozen red roses and my face pressed against their velvet

All of us on center court- to celebrate with him! Senior Night.

All the birthday pictures adorned with teapots and tea cups, rainbows, and flowers and their beautiful love

A birthday brunch with my birthday brother, Mom, and Dad

Jonah

Plum Paper and a new year ahead of me… perhaps my birthday will be my official new year….

Berry Crisp and Scrambled Eggs. One of my favorites to prepare for my darlings.

A gift of venison. So grateful and So good.

Silver Keys and God’s grace

School planning for 2018