The Things They Say

I am sitting on the floor in the family room. We are in a full out hustle to get the laundry all put away. Three little girls are folding towels like champs. I am impressed with their skill, accuracy, and speed. (I come to learn they have recently been under the tutelage of their Dad in this area.)

Then suddenly, little Aymee announces, loudly:

“One time, when you were going for a walk with Ms. Laney (yes, this is what she said! She got the name wrong in a delightful way and I changed spelling for privacy but too cute not to share!), Melodee made a mistake- (dramatic emphasis!)

“Melodee put the towels in the trash can!!!”

The trash can opens with a foot pedal. The drawer opens with a pull of the hand. I am trying to see the connection here. They are both located in the kitchen.

We are in the family room. Melodee is busily, at this very moment, putting kitchen towels away in the drawer- in the kitchen. She is coming quickly back to the work before us and says,

“Yes, I did.”

And then!

“I picked them out! And I didn’t wash my hands!”

This is said with dramatic emphasis- because they know how I feel about washing hands! Very important in our family. And they are very sure they are completely shocking me.

But! O But.. the next part of this tale…!

Every little girl is brimful of the effect this shock is having upon me. Every little girl is seeing a certain humor in this situation. Eyes bright, cheeks puffed. Tale told.

I am all, all astonishment! Complete astonishment. So then I gently ask,

“What did you do with those towels?”

“I picked them out and I put them in the drawer.”

O my.

So. We had a little chat about what to do should said children ever again accidentally make the mistake of putting towels in the trash can and that we should always WASH OUR HANDS!

Apparently, this was last week some time. So, we made it through all those towels- with no apparent ill effect. Thank You, Lord!

The Things They Say (and do!)

Endless Gifts- Summer

the swirl of hair on the nape of her neck

How she throws her head back and laughs overflowing

Her little cackles, chuckles, delicious giggles

My girl, Mellie, saying, “I want to go outside and smell the air and pick the flowers…”

Norah saying, “So yummy good! And good! And good!”

The Black butterfly, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, that felt so free and comfortable to float round and round us on a Friday morning washed in sunshine

Chocolate Cake

My friend sent me home with a zippy bag of tea, and when I went to the website to find its name- to share it here- I found a Downton Abbey Tea! O! kindred spirit. Too fun!

The recent day she (Aymee) learned to pump and swing all by herself…and how she flies- so high! My heart.

walks at ‘sandy mountain’

haircuts for all us girls, O! “crea clip” how I love thee! And how I love all of our hair and forever the fun of keeping it pretty.

A “spa day” for my little girls with hair cuts and showers and toe nail painting

The hepa filter with UV light on the HVAC that is literally changing my life. I am shocked at the difference in myself. Shocked- and SO so SO so SO happy!

The grand expanse of sky turning gold, flaming rose pink, with always that hint of indigo and blue

Deep and heartfelt talks

Somehow, it all working out for music lessons again for fall

the way the water mirrors the sky and suddenly, I think I might have made a leap… that verse where God separated the waters from the waters…pondering

Open arms of forgiveness and soaking all that it means

Aymee and Mellie folding bath towels- that seem giant next to their five year olds selves… and Mellie, in a firm yet sweet way, exhorting her sister to stay out of her space as she stretches that towel long and works to fold it neatly

candles on my table and yellow squash cake and blueberry bread and goodness

warm teas with collagen, comfort

a swim skirt!!!

a drive in the rain and a comfy cushy couch and a sweet friend’s listening ear and all the rich beauty, and the frog that hopped at my feet, and the way the air was so full of creature song, and the arms of trees

eating the mouthful of bitter, the gravel taste, the choke of it, swallowing it down and finding out, its all okay on the other side, its all okay when the journey takes you longer and farther and harder than you hoped and learning again and again how to give it all to God

looking at the hard and at the regret, and so grateful for the chance to get up again and do it better in His grace

three boys drawers, organized (mostly)

Scout shirts brightened for a new year

always counting all these endless gifts, grace in my days

 

 

 

 

 

Practicing Philippians 4:4-9

I crafted this post awhile ago… and I have mulled over it and pondered it. I am sharing it now. Scripture is so rich. I can study it every day forever and it will still keep revealing itself to my heart again, and again in new ways and with comfortable familiarity that is a refuge to me. Textures and depths. Forever.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.(bold italcs mine -ESV)

This passage of Scripture is one which has been a strength and help to me over many years and in many different seasons. And I have prayed to overcome anxiety and I have laid out my requests one by one…as best I can… and I have built my faith meditating on the supernatural peace of God which surpasses all understanding.

However, Scripture isn’t a band aid that you just slap over a problem and voila! (in this case) – no more anxiety. No.

Yet- It is-

power. It is life. It is hope. It is help. It is guidance. It is light. It is something to practice to elevate our experience from natural to supernatural. (We do not elevate it ourself- it is the Spirit of God)To release the supernatural within us- that is our inheritance through the Spirit of Christ within.

I personally have experienced sometimes constant guilt as I battle anxiety and have been quoted Scripture after Scripture and yet I am not just turning around and walking in peace. It feels wrong to admit how scared, worried, helpless or hopeless you truly feel to other members of the body of Christ.  I ponder: How hard am I willing to battle for the Peace of Christ? I think this is a relevant question for me- because even though all is given freely in Christ- there is still a warfare in our members and the spiritual battle is real. It is a battle just to show up in the morning, in the time and place I have appointed.

How hard are we willing to battle for anything worth having in the Lord? Purity, Love, Holiness, Peace, a rich family life, a Christian heritage- for example.

So, I have pressed hard- and missed the mark, too. Trying to grind my way to righteousness, to holiness-

to peace-

is futile.

God wants everything. Everything is ours to lay before Him. Nothing too futile, too small.

There is gentle simplicity.. There is child-like coming. There is true power. But it is not mine, it is Christ’s. It is released in my obedience and faith.

I love this. ‘Practice’ these things. Be like a little child, doing the same skill over and over and over and over. Simply. Faithfully. Until it becomes a part of you. You own it and its yours.

Do not worry over all the areas that are so far from this perfection. Simply begin and practice one by one. I need that guarding and I need that peace. And more than anything, I need that supernatural peace of God and His ability actively working in my life.

To practice something is to perform an activity or skill regularly in order to gain or maintain proficiency.  We practice to increase our excellence. We practice so that when a time of need arises, the “muscle memory” is there to answer the need.  Practice is needed to learn a new skill and gain mastery. Practice is needed to maintain a skill you have already gained.

Practices are activities we engage in to build virtue, invite an atmosphere, and form a new reality. Practices are also activities we engage in to cement skills.

I practice Philippians 4:4-9 by making it a part of my Bible Time often. Sometimes, I journal it through Scripture journaling. Very helpful. Writing the verse out helps my mind to slow down and focus on each word. And then, I sit with it, working through and applying every verse to my life, myself. It is an exercise I engage in. I practice Philippians 4 when I turn my mind to it in the midst of a battle. I begin choosing the good, lovely, pure, excellent. I put my trust in God. Trust that He will flood me with His reality and answer the petition of His Word. When I get up, and am overwhelmed again by an anxious circumstance… I do not condemn myself. I walk on. Hopefully, the verses rise to the forefront.

And the next day, when I rise,

I am practicing again.

Grace and Peace,

Rebecca

Twins Turn 5

My darlings turned 5 in July and my heart is so full, it overflows my eyes and trickles down my cheeks.Even now, when I try to write their birthday blog post!

I have so many memories and every year, when their birthday rolls around, I can’t help but remember the many weeks of pain and discomfort as they grew inside and we waited and waited. Making enchiladas for Todd’s birthday this year brought back so many memories as that was the meal we had the year they were due.

They had a chicken nugget dinner and they each chose their cake. They love the song Jesus Loves Me and Aymee will often break into the song, “Come Thou Fount” which is so interesting to me because that was the hymn I used to sing to all my babies as I rocked and rocked them.

A friend once said about their much longed for daughter: A dream is a wish your heart makes and you are my dream come true. This is exactly how I feel about my darlings. I remember the day I was driving down a windy road in North Carolina wondering/thinking that maybe my heart desire to have a daughter, a sister for my Abi and a little girl to name after my own beloved sister was just a wish of my own and not the will of God. The special key here is how much of a gift in life and in God my sister is to me.

And how astonished the day, I learned there were two, and then the day I learned they were girls! I remember standing outside our mini-van in Asheville- calling my mom, then my sister. Sharing the astonishing, amazing, wonderful news!

How grateful, beyond grateful I am to have them, to have gone through twin pregnancy safely, to have birthed them safely (first and only c-section), to have been able to nurse them successfully. And now, to begin kindergarten with them!

They are a dream of my heart come true and true to Himself, more than I could ever ask or imagine. Too full for words. So- photos!

 

 

Happy Birthday my darlings!

Ephesians 3:20-21

20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Welcome, Little White!

 

We have welcomed a Ruby-Eyed White Netherland Dwarf Bunny into our family. Pippin. He is the longed for and beloved pet belonging to Abi and Asher. They researched bunny breeds and saved for three years to provide for and purchase him. He has already grown quite a bit and our whole family deeply enjoys his antics and sweet personality.

Cat and dog ownership are completely out of the picture for our family first, because of the incredible allergies we have to those pets. Second, for many other practical reasons. So, the first happy news was when we learned that we could actually own and care for a Bunny! There was the Christmas three years ago, when Abi and Asher were given a research rabbit book to begin educating themselves about owning a rabbit and all that would mean.

AbiAsher2013Bunny

Christmas 2013

There were discussions with aunt and cousin about Netherland dwarf rabbits and how to care for them. There were visits to Ama’s, enjoying Skitch, the little grandbunny of Ama, and tender watch of cousin and Aunt. He is their beloved prize and Abi and Asher enjoyed learning about him and spending time with him.

There was the answer from our landlord that we were permitted to have him. O, happy day!

There was this! Pippin as a wee, wee, young lad.🙂

Baby Pippin

Some photos of our journey to Pennsylvania to receive him from my sister and niece and the journey home.

drive2pippinamyholdingpippinabiasherpippinjourneyhome

pippinathome

We found a vet and made one good use of him already. I had my head stuffed with more bunny knowledge than I thought I needed to know!

He brings a lot of joy to every one of us.

Pippin (Peregrine Took). Our hobbitish bunny who lives up to his name and enjoys many a meal.🙂

Love.

Endless Gifts

A coffee with a sweet friend from church and the promise of another time

gathering with dear friends from ‘North Carolina’ traveling through, Ranch!, the music, O! seeing their dear, dear faces, the joy of our fellowship, Celtic fiddle- how this blessed me, the comfort of their friendship

so grateful for the internet and the ability to stay connected with friends in different states

A blessing of Maryland: swimming opportunities and the dear people who offer them

Pippin the ruby-eyed white. Life is blessing and brings great joy, even the sweet, precious life of a small bunny. God’s creatures are a comfort.

A gift from my mom

School books getting organized and going up on the shelves for the new year and all the while we soak the last days of summer and a more open schedule

Chili and Rice and Fritos and Dairy free toppings and the friend who brought me this meal and the way I have been making it ever since, – you are in my heart forever

the way she described their local coffee shop, the colors, the textures, the tones, it has stayed with me, lighting up in my mind (and Trader Joes, too!)

Courtney. Our walk. The laughter. The talks. So so good! Swims at her house and the gentle way she tends to those around her- me, my little ones.

Everything blurred- over the last few weeks. And, when I lay back against the chair, the couch, and let my heart rise up in overwhelm… it is the this song. This– that is preaching to me. And, refreshing myself in every lyric of this song. And oh!! It is. It is everything. Close eyes. Breathe deep. Jesus! This song has been knit in me for years. And it is still speaking to me.

 

 

Weekend.

 

 

 

What’s On My Mind

This week, I had the fear of facing bills we cannot pay, fears of a car that doesn’t work properly, hard to write for me emails sent out that haven’t received responses, two little girlies who had been pining- diagnosed with bladder infections, the dishwasher breaking(Thursday) and the garage freezer breaking (Friday), living a day on the last two diapers in the house, the knowledge of a dangerous drive Todd and three children had ( learned of Saturday), toilets continuing to run and having to set up more appointments, a tutor training meeting that lasted 3.5 hours and overwhelmed the heart out of me, an appointment with Norah that left me(partly due to unavoidable circumstance) beginning to walk home until Todd could come and get me, some Boy Scout Troop needs that have been outstanding, several phone calls (introvert here) that waylaid me. The usual feeling that the cupboard has been opened and life is dropping on my head. Truth. What do I do with this?

This is my real life. In the midst of it, I try to close my eyes and find myself in God. And I cry out to Him for help and direction.

I think I am going to lay down and rest and when I get up, I am going to pray and practice

( a post about this to follow) Philippians 4. Right now, I feel afraid.

I wrote this before nap time. Then it was nap, and I did lay down and rest. I woke up with my little girl and I have been caring for little girls until this moment. It seems like, at times, the mind, can’t face the full import of the fear and stress. This has been true for me so much over the last 10 months or so. I am choosing right at this moment, to roll it on God. Roll it, cast it. Take this from me, Father. Carry it and me.

Psalm 56:3-11

Whenever I am afraid,
I will trust in You.
In God (I will praise His word),
In God I have put my trust;
I will not fear.
What can flesh do to me?

All day they twist my words;
All their thoughts are against me for evil.
They gather together,
They hide, they mark my steps,
When they lie in wait for my life.
Shall they escape by iniquity?
In anger cast down the peoples, O God!

You number my wanderings;
Put my tears into Your bottle;
Are they not in Your book?
When I cry out to You,
Then my enemies will turn back;
This I know, because God is for me.
10 In God (I will praise His word),
In the Lord (I will praise His word),
11 In God I have put my trust;
I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?

~Rebecca

The Things They Say

Aymee, running to and fro… suddenly, standing still:

She gasps- “Melodee, I need to take a rest for my heart! It’s beeping! My heart, it’s beeping!”

She is breathless, with her hands crossed across her belly. Her heart is beeping.

Another day… the new bunny is at the water bottle and

“He’s drinking!! He’s so cute! He drinks!” Everything a wonder and an excited squeal.

The things they say.

Endless Gifts -July

A warm, sweet smelling little love on my lap

Roses from a musical celebration; 7 long stemmed beauties

How I know He sees me, sees me -right where I am at…and I don’t strive. No. I rejoice and curl contentedly -right there in His Hand.

My mom, for those talks. I really needed those.

For…”you do the head, I’ll do the arms” every day and again.

For staring at the swings, pushing these wee girls…not for long, not for long and there are many mixed emotions about this season

the way she calls them “friends”… my littlest one, running after her next older sisters, calling for them,”hey friends!…” O yes, please, best of friends for all the rest of their lives and seasons.

Twins birthday… and they are up after rest time, full of happiness and excitement and chattering about when Daddy will be around.. “will he be here for the party?” and I say, “he probably won’t be here for the start of dinner…but he will be here for presents” and the collective, in sync, little gasp…”Presents!” Their day just got better and better. Ha!

Melodee, on the deck, blowing bubbles… so happy and I ask her about all the gorgeous bubbles she’s blowing and she says, “Because I’m the Birthday Girl!”

For their sweet, sweet birthday… and how she said she was “Rainbow Girl” and then “I’m Heart Girl, now” Grin.

A circle of quiet, deep in my soul

Grace for the day. Grace for each day.

24 hour trip to PA with some of my lovelies and a journey home with a little bunny, little white.

An illness for a little girl that was not dramatic or drawn out and I AM thankful.

All the birdsong at my Aunt’s house

Puddlejumpers and swimming hopes and opportunities

Talks with my Mom and brunch with my Dad

My geraniums, improving

Little White Bunny: Pippin and all the joy and delight he is (hereafter known fully as Peregrine Took )

The last shot of the last game of the last night of camp…it was his. And what it meant to my heart after all the journey there.

Swimming at Courtneys, the frogs, the beauty, my three corded head band!!

Her loud giggles and squeals with the wee frogs in her hands

Krista, Courtney, Kelly, and standing in Martin’s…feeling some roots squiggle down deep. Maryland.

The gift of TableLife. Soaking it in and Pondering.

Black-Eyed Susans. Happy realization that these golden darlings are the Maryland State flower, a small relative of the Sunflower. A pool of sunshine in the garden. A ray of sunshine, roadside. They have captivated me. And everywhere, the Queen Anne’s Lace.

How they love each other, how they miss

Painting teeny tiny toes bright red.

Sunday dinners, candles, circle of  praise

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Endless Gifts- Beginning July

The cold spray of a water balloon releasing in my hands

Their happy shouts and gallops about the yard

Getting the bushes trimmed while they play, happy

amazing home-made by me pizza  for Summer Camp

Their eyes when I say, “How about some bacon on that?”

her waving goodbye with clutched flowers in her hand

The nap time break every afternoon of summer camp week, with the door shut, and the air purifier on. It is amazing what that does for me!

“Build Your Kingdom…” by Rend Collective

Their teen music

A walk (several walks and a picnic dinner) at the place that is an small echo of our Carolina Greenway with my six younger children, listening to the birds singing, reciting excerpts from “We’re going on a Bear Hunt…” as we go through the small wooded section… and they squeal and tell me to stop.🙂

Abigaile’s schedule that is guiding us smoothly through camp week

Pictures of the bunny!

Bunny supplies enroute, for our new little family member

The profusion of pansies in the barrel

Writing nights

The goodness of a walk with the wind in my face

My little blond girl chasing butterflies

My big girl carefully seeking birds

The 1.99 any size Mocha frappe at McDonalds. Terrible for my healthy eating plan- but, O! I needed it that day. And it was good. And I am grateful. And the five minutes I drove a little extra down the road with the music loud and the air in my face and the children happy with drinks… and who cares if Norah spills all over her shirt because it is only water for her and her sisters next to her and I change her when we walk in the door. And ice water from McDonalds is a special experience. The straw, the ice, the cup. Its the little things!

Watching the sun highlights shine out in her golden brown hair… just like mine when I was her age. Just like mine. Her hair all streaked with gold.

His full out leap onto the slip and slide. No holds barred…and the exultant delight with those satisfying slides into the spray.

The sun and the wind and the birdsong and the butterflies

Only two more sleeps….one more sleep… they are home!

I stare at their faces. I study their countenance. My heart eases. I can’t get enough of each one. I feel the deep exhale.

All the little movies I take all week long… of our adventures here. And we swap camera movie clips at the end of the day…we get to see the Scouts and they get to see us. Goodness.

and I wield my camera like a light, shining the victory, shining the happy, shining joy. Shining out over the ache, the weary, the hard.

Wrapping grace round me like a shawl, and faith believing for it to soak deep in

 

 

 

 

 

 

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