Endless Gifts

During hard, hard times, I pull tight within myself. So tight. And I can’t get the words out and I can’t look up. Usually, I would not even attempt an Endless Gifts…just wait, wait for that hard, round ball inside to unravel a bit.  Or unravel a lot. I am struggling and feel laid low and even hammered. Everything fell apart.

It is sweet to write gifts. It is an act of faith. There is an ugly underbelly in my life I am struggling in and through.

And now, life upends as all the normal routines immediately shift. I am handling much more for the next 5 weeks. And I feel afraid. The dark is heavy. It presses.

I even feel as fragile, broken open and vulnerable, as I do just after a new baby.

How am I going to do this on my own?

I will just do it. Of course. And not very well. But, I will.

I have this sweet friend…this wonderful friend… and she has kept counting… through sorrow and loss and deep difficulty.

And inspired my heart. Released my heart.


Even though this be small, it is a step. Grace-Step.

I am counting…

Todd. And how he loves me by holding buckets for ill children and being hands on in every difficult way. And my head against his chest and I cry. And he knows.

And now I must love him

as I completely release him for the hours and hours needed for work. And create the traditional tax season care package: caffeine/crunchy snacks. Soon, soon.

The ability to know that we needed a one week respite and the clear mind and confidence needed to clear almost everything off the schedule and be home. Reschedule things, skip things, stay home. This week, home. After last week… and all the prior weeks.

For the dear HisWay moms who offered their prayers, emails, texts, and covered my class. For their altogether gracious release of me for this one week. Plus the other multiple classes they had to cover in Feb/March for me. Especially Sandy and Nicole. Especially.

The comprehensive car insurance on the big van that will cover almost all of the windshield replacement (discovered a 12 inch crack in it Sunday when I got in it to go to the store)

The warranty on the fridge and the plumber bills paid by our landlords

Courtney and her texts and prayers. Texts at 5 a.m. and 6. Her “steady state of ready” – which, O friend, I am so not. But those words. Love. And tea. A sachet of her tea with “extra honey”…

Jen and Andrea. Prayers, Love, the understanding of decades of friendship.What gift, this?

the fun birthday gifts from my sister for Norah that helped fill some long, long hours

The one call I managed to take: from my Dad (and Mom) and its comfort

The Irish Animated Children’s Movie: Song from the Sea and

The Mitford Books. So true to what we know from our own time in NC mountains and soul comfort.

The snowman kit we saved all these years from the dear, dear lady from our first church. Finally using it with great joy. It was the perfect snow for it. They rolled great balls of snow. And we even had two snowmen, one front, one back. Yet, still, this storm was so very unwelcomed by me.

A gift in an envelope

sanitizing cycle on the dishwasher

Earth Balance Organic Margarine

Toast- again, again.

The way my cooking skills seem to sky rocket when I am not eating. Best cinnamon toast. Best chicken sandwhiches. Best muffins. Best eggs.

The hope of Easter and the discovery of a new dairy-free chocolate supplier (Easter novelties)

Books. Books, books, books.

The delight on his face when I surpised him with the CD pre-ordered so long ago. The beauty of the cello and our camraderie in our love for it.

The tall son who is my right hand man. A comfort and a strength.

These sons… I walk after one in the Bjs parking lot. He pushes the full cart for tired me. He will pack the car and unload it, too. I will sit in the car and breathe. I will be thankful. These sons… they bring me rest.

Shoppers. I think that place is now one of my favorite places. I found almost everything, everything I needed in time of crisis- including the “hospital grade” Lysol canisters and the disposable sippy cups I wanted.

The settling comfort to my mind as I gather a couple little ones round to read sweet favorites.

Grace gifts found during a week that will certainly go down in our history books- following weeks that were already laying us low, low. Todd remarked about “Maryland winters.” Dear Lord, I pray that this be not Maryland winters for us evermore. We are two years running – misery and suffering. Now, that I think of it… there was also the March of 2014 when Todd got the stomach bug. The reason why this is significant is because it also greatly impacted that year’s tax season. Greatly. So three years of our five- tax  season stress from illness. I am pondering.

This verse that came to my heart as I was sitting in my chair… thinking thoughts the Lord knows:

Proverbs 14:4 NKJV

Where no oxen are, the trough is clean;

But much increase comes by the strength of an ox.

My messy trough/stall is a good thing.

The verse(s) that was given to me in a moment of anguish, and as I continue to question everything and lay it all bare. What obedience is needed from me? Help me, O Lord. :

Psalm 61 NKJV

61 Hear my cry, O God;
Attend to my prayer.
From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

For You have been a shelter for me,
A strong tower from the enemy.
I will abide in Your tabernacle forever;
I will trust in the shelter of Your wings. Selah

For You, O God, have heard my vows;
You have given me the heritage of those who fear Your name.
You will prolong the king’s life,
His years as many generations.
He shall abide before God forever.
Oh, prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him!

So I will sing praise to Your name forever,And
That I may daily perform my vows.

I never knew what abundance would pour forth out from this storm.

Sometimes, it hurts to look up.









Exodus 31; John 10; Proverbs 7; Galatians 6

Come join me at 66books today!


Exodus 31:

Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “See, I have called by name Bezalel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of [a]craftsmanship, to [b]make artistic designs for work in gold, in silver, and in [c]bronze, and in the cutting of stones [d]for settings, and in the carving of wood, that he may work in all kinds of[e]craftsmanship. 6   Exodus 31 NASB

Craftmanship. Beauty. Excellence. Artistry. Skillfulness. God is in these things and they are holy when done unto Him. He puts skill in the hearts of all who are skillful.

Read the rest here 🙂



Our darling, our Maryland baby- Four on 3/8

We managed (somehow) to celebrate between crisis illnesses.

She insisted on a Vanilla Cake with Strawberry icing and strawberries on top.

She joyfully helped frost her cake and decorate it with the sliced strawberries. We did it together. Cakes tend to be a joint affair around here. Abi made the cake. Micah made the icing. Norah and I spread and decorated. It was delicious.

Happiest birthday sweet one!

The Things They Say (A)

(overheard by me)

Older sibling:

“Did you put your hand in here and then put your hand in your mouth?” A severe tone is heard.



Older sibling:



“Sorry ryryry”

Her little cackles, chuckles.

Delicious giggles.

How she throws her head back and laughs overflowing.

The Things They Say (and do).

Exodus 17; Luke 20; Job 35; 2 Corinthians 5

I woke up this morning around 6:30  and realized today

the sky would be crisp and blue; the air chill.. I woke up suddenly, as if by alarm. No one had been sick in the night. I stretched tentatively and snuggled down a bit more… watchful ,waiting; listening.

Today, Asher is back in the swing of our family. Without even the need to rest. One long week behind us. This one stretching ahead… and still some children- iffy and on watch.

A few more days, maybe just one more day- and I will know if the awful cloud of illness has departed.

I am at 66 Books today… and my heart-poured out as the Word is a mirror unto me.

I need Water from the Rock.

Do you?


Cozy Me Up- The Things They Say

The Things They Say

My little girl is getting so big. So big.

It boggles my mind. It stretches my heart.

I don’t want to forget this every day request:

Cozy Me Up!

She(E) asks it of me. She asks it of Micah.

Unwittingly, I realized I say it to her- again, again.

I need to cozy you up.

It means tucked in, all snug. Cozy as can be. For nap, for bed.

Nutzers, Music, Rainbow Light, Blankets, Animal Friends. Air Purifier.

Cozy. It’s the Little Things. Always.

The Things They Say



Endless Gifts-end of February

Roses in a hammered silver vase

Me, on the deck, with my face turned to the blue sky- that promise of spring,  my eyes to the sun, while I brace myself to the deck and the wind whips me round. That hard February wind-  I brace against the cold in the bright, bright sun. I stand as long as I can take it.. and then I come in. My mind completely rejuvenated. My hair falling tousled around my face after the fresh tussle from the wind. My face and feet hold the chill memory- longest. The cold eases away in the warm house. I send them out to play.

That February light slanting through the Valentine heart banner and blessing candle, flower, cake banner, too. A tangle of hearts and a beam of golden light. February: a  month of beauty. I feel like a flower. I cannot help but turn my face to the sun.

Valentine Card Making station and a dish of chocolate and raspberry fig bars. A chocolate cake and chocolate chip pancakes.  A new tradition born out of love.

Strawberry Smoothie more like soft serve. Tasty goodness.

Finding my walk-  I stepped off the curb and down the road and as my foot hit the road, my heart said, “This is your walk.” And I went. Years of walking down miles of roads… and I pray the time has come, once more. I found the walk. Now- to find the time?

Treasured friends and their cards and their words

the way antibiotics relentlessly push back a massive strep throat and swallowing free again

my heart captured by Maryland sky- for a long time I resisted. But now, I am convinced, one of her glories- is her moody, shifting, golden, glorious sky and it is soul filling to step outside and breathe deep and let my hungry gaze apprehend as far as I can see. Every type of streaking, shifting, huge and puffy cloud- every golden thread and glimmer, and the blues…it’s glory.

Micah- well again. Praise be!


End of February and a Birthday to celebrate this upcoming week

Grace in an Envelope




February- a month of beauty

I am grateful for grace found, felt in February.

This month, in spite of unaccountably warm weather and sun, has still been challenging for me. I feel like I need a refresher course to enliven my homeschool. February, when all the pencils go missing, the books are all topsy turvey, the freshness of the new school year is behind us- but there is still so much stretching ahead.  When decisions and courses and schedules and plans for next year need to be made and considered, while still pressing though the every day duties. When I realize I have slid away from some important priorities, and I need to relight the fire and return to their blaze. I need to take time to reconsider. I need to take time to reorder. I need to take a little time for a refresher.

We have spent more time outside in these unseasonably spring like days and that has been so good. Very good. I surrendered to the unlikely spring after feeling very confused and waylaid by the irregular weather. These days are good reminders for me to live one day at a time. I found myself checking ten day weather forecasts. Something I rarely ever do! Will it get cold again? How cold?

I had a hard day Friday. It was like a blanket of gloom was lying heavy on my mind and heart. There was no good reason for this. I think it was merely chemical, something my body was going through… and I couldn’t seem to throw the heavy off. I am grateful to say that I woke up feeling entirely different today- the next day. The heaviness gone. And, O! I am so glad.

In the midst of my gloom and struggle, I forced myself to take pictures (not pictured here the steaming tea pot I tried to capture ever so ineffectively, a little arrangement of owls, our piano) while feeling so very weighed down with so much. I downloaded pictures I have taken since my last February beauty post. I choose to light the candle of beauty against the heavy pall of my own difficulty.

I know that my heart is transformed when I take small steps- when I make even just a bit of an effort.

I sat outside with my small children while they cavorted and chortled and ran full-out through the lawn. This also helped.

And that is also what this little two post blog series has been about for me:

transforming my heart, transforming February.

Years ago, now, the Lord used Endless Gifts to transform my heart and mind; therefore, my life. And I am still counting…

And finding beauty in February is just another extension of this means of grace.

Thank You, Lord.

Choosing to think on:

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is [e]lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, [f]dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.  Philippians 4: 8-9 NASB


Bird Sky


Maryland Gold


Just winging through her day


Cardinal Love and February Beauty


Abi’s Chocolate Chip Cookies


Steaming Tea


Light filtered through hearts


Sunset streaking


The day I looked over and found their sweet friends tucked in


Valentine Make-Up Party


Valentine Fig Bar Celebration


A Walk after Illness


A Box of Happy