What’s On My Mind

It is late.
The computer screen glimmers and
only the light over the sink shines bright gold in dusky
I am wide awake.
The product of coffee late
at night.
or not because
it was
sweet coffee
and conversation
with my love
but now I am here.
Wide awake.
With thoughts of pending trip
upon me
and thoughts of life
in WNC
within me.
I do not regret
the coffee- though
sleep is elusive.
I ponder
the Irish Blessing
carefully chosen
to be wrapped in special
Mr and Mrs Paper and delivered
on celebration day.
I ponder carefully crafted words
hope they bless.
I ponder packing and lists
and piles
and dust.
There are some
that need
some serious attending.
I need to clean and pack and prepare food.
I ponder sickie children-
coughing in the night
with hoarse little voices.
I ponder the beautiful home
we visited today, sweet with Christ’s love
and healthy family relationships.
The banquet I attended and how nice
it was to sit with women at a grown-up
table and enjoy a meal together and be
utterly inspired and exhorted
by an amazing, godly woman.
I ponder leaving and the uncertain feeling
of how I need to get back
to our strong school rhythm-
but the free-spirit part
flies to experience a new trip of memories…
I hear a baby crying in the darkness-
with a hoarse cough in his voice
and I fly.

The Things They Say

Some short vignettes:

Little One comes walking out into the Great Room.
Tall Son follows, holding his nose.
“Whew!” He exclaims, “He turned skunk!” I look.
I laugh. He is in need of a diaper change.

Strong Seven rushes into the house- all excitement.
He proclaims, “I caught a big bully croaker!!” A huge toad is hopping around our porch.

Little Boy wakes up from Campout 2010.
“Mommy, I slept out all night and I didn’t wake ANYONE up. I’m a big boy now!”

Tenderheart holds a little skink in his hands,
“Look Mom, it is a little dirty face!” Fiesty Little Dirty face tries to nip.
A few minutes later, Tenderheart appears with Little Dirty Face cradled carefully in the fold of a leaf.
He can’t nip this way.
Named Dirty Face because this type loves to burrow and when found- their little faces- especially their mouths,
are covered in a mud “mask.”

How To Raise Boys Who Read

This is an opinion piece from the Wall Street Journal

I found it quite enjoyable.
I have five sons.
We love books.

I am motivated again to carve back our reading aloud rhythms and prioritize.

I love our print rich home.

I love…

… reading on my deep jewel-toned chair with Little One nestled close on the arm. We are “chasing” the mouse through Good Night Moon, identifying body parts in Hear Are My Hands, Rhyming with Jesse Bear, and finding a friend in I See. He says, “Who’s that?” on the page with the identical little boy baby staring at the other. I say, that’s a friend. Like Sammy. Sammy’s your friend. He says, “I love Sammy.” I cry.

… sitting at the lunch table with six rapt children munching- so quietly- while I read carefully from Ginger Pye. Never is lunch so orderly- and they all cry “More.” when I set the book aside.

I am cradled in “my” corner of the couch. Little Girl is on the arm with her elbows on my head. Little Boy melts soft against me. We read the Jesus Storybook Bible. They ponder.

… sitting with my two “big” boys and we are making our way through Treasure Island. It has been a long trek- but we are almost through and I get a little of that piratey twang when Long John Silver is on the scene. We also pour through God’s World News together, and we pray for nations in Window on the World.

Strong Seven works his way through The Boxcar Children. He is “on” number 16. Methodically, he works his way- in order.

I set up a story time for Strong Seven, Sweet 6 and Little Boy. Strong Seven chooses the Big Picture Story Bible. He reads a section a day. It is “their” special time.

Tall Son and Tenderheart reminisce Redwall together. They laugh and chuckle, they scheme and imagine. Tall Son has a friend to share the adventures of Martin and Mathias… the hero mice. I read Redwall too- so I share the laughter over the zany Hare and the delicious food descriptions.

Husband has a book going at all times. He forms a routine. First a doctrinal/educational type book then a Missionary biography- and so he goes- one by one.

He heads down nightly and reads to the Big Boys (3) in their room at bedtime. They journey through Chuck Black’s series- some Lamplighters- now Douglas Bond.

I keep a stack at my bedside. I finish The Seven Secrets of Somewhere Lake. A book my Tall Son asked me to read- he loved it so. Wonderful book. I think one of my top ten favorites.

Reading. What’s not to love?

Write My Heart

Comfort for a heart held close by pain…

I lay hold of this promise. I cling.

Psalm 34:18 (New International Version)

18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

The Cross… the soul- satisfying comfort of the Cross.

In a place of pain, the Truth finds me, lays hold, It comforts me.
I soak deep the soul healing balm.

“The Mystery of the Cross I cannot comprehend… the agony of Calvary.
You, the perfect Holy One, crushed Your Son, drank the bitter cup reserved for me.
Your blood has washed away my sins- Thank You Jesus.
The Father’s Wrath- completely satisfied, Thank You Jesus.
Once Your enemy- now seated at Your table.
Jesus- Thank You…”

From Jesus Thank You- Sovereign Grace Worship 2002.

2 Corinthians 5: 21 (New International Version)

21God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

The Triple Layer Extra Large Chocolate Cake

Part of this deserves to be noted under Endless Gifts, and part of this deserves to be noted under The Things They Say: so I will note it here. 🙂

Long ago, way back in June, when Daddy turned 35, we celebrated with a double layered banana cake. This got my Little Boy thinking. He really liked that layer cake. Later (but not too much later) I made a 9 X 13 cake (single layer) and it was delicious. Little Boy walks by it and points and he says: “I want a DOUBLE LAYER cake like THAT one for my birthday Mommy. A big one- a big rectangle one.” I grin. This is a boy after my own heart. I can just imagine my own childish delight at a cake of that size, layered too. I ponder it a bit- say- we can see. We move on.

Present time. Wednesday nights are my time with my two little boys. We spend time together, doing little boy things, and baking. Baking is high on the list of priorities for Wednesday night. Our first endeavor was delicious cookies. For the second- my boy- he wanted to make the big layer cake. A big one, a chocolate one, with white icing. My other boys, they wanted a triple layer chocolate fudge cake like we read about in Gone Away Lake. My mouth waters. Just thinking about it… what could be better than triple layers of chocolate fudge… Mmm- mmm. So we combined the two mouth-watering dreams into one endeavor and I doubled the cake recipe. We made a triple layer chocolate cake with white icing. I used three 9 X 13 cake pans. I used a double recipe of batter. We mixed the icing. I had to make extra- and in the end we had just enough. Little Boy requested a strawberry on top (to satisfy Little Girl- who originally wanted a red cherry on top.)

The dream cake is completed. I ice it while they are sleeping. I forgot the strawberry. I am boldly reminded the next day. I somehow pick the sliced frozen strawberry that is perfectly shaped like a heart and it graces the middle of our cake. Little Boy says, “I want the heart piece.”

The cake, while pushing the limit of chocolate deliciousness extravagance and raising the eyebrows of the man of the house was AMAZING. I froze half of it to remove temptation.

Little Boy, Little One, and I- we are making the cake, all together in the kitchen. Spoons in hand, I am in the pantry moving things, putting away, getting out and I say, “Thanks for helping me make this cake. This was great.” Little Boy, spoon in hand, chocolate on face, he says, “No, Mommy- you were helping ME make the cake.” I ponder this a minute and say, “Well- I’m the one who has the recipe and knows what to do- so I think you are helping me…” Little Boy is NOT persuaded. He reiterates, “You were helping ME make the cake.”

The next day, he even repeats it for his dad- while we are discussing the magnificent cake. It truly was and it made my Little Boy’s day and it fulfilled a dream too. What’s not to love about a gigantic TRIPLE LAYER chocolate cake with white icing??? Well, maybe it would have been better with chocolate. As some would say here, ZUM-MY!! 🙂

The Things They Say

The Things They SayStrong 7 is in need of a book. He has finished number 14 of the Boxcar Series. Number 15 is at the library. He is at loose ends. I say, “ Go down to the boys’ bookshelf. There have got to be Boxcars you haven’t read on there.” Of course there are… and even though it is “out of order” in the series- down he goes… only to reappear later with a brother at his heels- a brother who shall remain unnamed at this time…

There is no book in his hand. The book he went to seek did belong to the un-named brother. The un-named brother declared a “borrowing fee.” Strong 7 refused to pay.
I gaze at these boys questioningly.
Said Brother declares in defense: “I reduced the damage wage!”

Brother was quickly informed that not even the library charges “borrowing fees” and we share our books around here- of course noting- if it is damaged, the sibling must replace it.

It seems I have a little mercenary on my hands… 😉

A borrowing fee and a damage wage…

The Things They Say

The Things They Say: Little Boy

The Things They Say: Little Boy

Little Boy (now big) carefully chooses his cup for lunch.
It is a “Wednesday Night” cup. Plastic. Green. With crosses ringing round, each middle adorned with a red heart.
Sister wails. The green cup is hers. They fuss. I try to mediate.Little Boy shares that the yellow “Wednesday Night” cup is his- but he can never find it and so on and so on… I try to exhort sister to follow the 24 Family Ways… We are generous with what we have… sharing freely with others… However, I solve the problem by washing the green cup (to remove the germs, you know) and a found yellow cup (what was in that thing?) and placing them at the proper lunch spots.

Then- I am arrested by this:

“Mommy, I like “Wednesday Night” cups the best cause they have crosses and that means Jesus.. cause Jesus died on the cross.”

My thoughtful boy- choosing the special “crosses” cup for “Wednesday Night” and Jesus.

I take it further and say, “Why do crosses mean Jesus?”

He says, “Cause Jesus died on the cross to take away our sins. It’s true Mommy.” He states seriously.

I am amazed at his answer. He knew.

I catch the moment and point out that gaudy red heart right in the middle of those ringed round crosses and say “and Jesus Loves. It’s Love and the Cross” It is Love on the Cross… and I hug him close cheek to cheek and whisper in his ear. I try to catch that moment. How do you catch these moments- they are like our butterflies- floating beauty, elusive and free. I cannot hold them tight enough, I cannot even catch them.

I like “Wednesday night” cups the best cause they have crosses and that means Jesus…

The Things They Say.

Endless Gifts

It is Multitude Monday…
and my cup is running over.


Without further ado, I am finding evidences of grace in:

61.)- Lemon Lift Tea when I really, really needed a lift
62.)-Aroma of Baked Chicken filling the house… such a comforting smell and I am glad to bake joy with no fear
63.)-This book: For the Family’s Sake; amazing, comforting, like the Titus 2 mentor I long for…
64.)- The Gospel
65.)-Clean shower curtains; really clean and sweet smelling, too.
66.)-Light falling grace on a well-tended home; glancing on surfaces well-ordered
67.)-ringed round the table- me and the kids and we sing out our hearts, “Jesus Messiah Name Above All Names Blessed Redeemer- Emmanuel”
68.)-Beautiful children (and they are mine) standing in the the light of our doorway, together
69.)-Time out alone with Nate and he says, “No one would know it by looking at me Mommy, you wouldn’t know it by looking at me- but this is a completely new experience for me. I have never been in this restaurant before.” I grin. He is all eagerness and delight.
70.)-Kind words from a sweet friend. (Thank you.)
71.)-Grocery shopping alone and the confidence in which I navigate the aisles and the food…I am proud of how far I have come in living real life with IgE food allergies. It is grace to be in this place. Item after item into the cart… and- I am not afraid.
72.)-Ten, that is TEN women at the first YMCHE parent support meeting. Thank You.

holy experience


Roses (from last week)


Outside this day-
I walk hand in hand with Little One.
I pick for him two brilliant roses.
Darkest pink…almost magenta- but
So much more… beautiful than magenta can ever be…
They light up in his arms
Against his navy blue shirt.
His blue eyes shine.
“Thank you Mommy”- he says, sweet and eager.
He clutches petals in his hands.
He calls them, “Butterflies.”
I stare hard at the deep color
Shining out bright in the gray sky.
I soak deep the beauty.
The petals crumple and they bring them to me.
Little One and Little Boy.
A sad, small pile of silken brilliance pink.
This beauty- so much more than man
Can ever create.
We can only imitate.
Delicate and fragile beauty
Bruised and crushed in
Too strong grasp.
Petals bear the marred perfection;
Oiled creases, crumpled edges.

I hold His crumpled beauty
In my hand.

Isaiah 53:5 (King James Version)
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed

“He became sin who knew no sin, that we might become His righteousness. Love so amazing… Love so amazing…”


Butterflies (from 9/12/2010)

Today when we arrived home from church- a giant swallowtail brushed by our car…
I watched it
Seemingly float
Our butterfly bush.

As I got out of the car-
Caught in butterfly wonder-
I noticed more-
Seeming to
Seeming to
Like the soon
Twirling leaves
Cascading down
From the sky.

Slowly, I walked, with Little One in tow-
Toward our bush-
Watching butterflies
Drift from the sky…
Counting at least ten
Drinking hungry
On our bush…
At least five were
The beautiful black
Golden swallowtails hovered
And little
Butterflies too.
They caught the breeze and soared across our yard,
Floating in the air,
Landing on the trees,
Landing on the bush.
They seem to fall from the sky like
Their life

I wondered if they have begun their fall migration…

Even so.
Floating gently.