February- somehow- spun down, down, down. A spiral into something… and I found it hard to surface. Here I am. Surfacing. Several blog posts- never written. Hopefully, they too, will come back to me. There is a seven month photo post coming.

Endless Gifts

78.)I soak the words strung out like diamonds on black velvet- they are rolling on pure, sweet notes of music. Pure. Heart-felt. Beautiful. I roll the neck. I squeeze the tears. I feel like I was just captured, stopped, apprehended out of my struggling self. I was. It hurts that deep ministering heart-piercing “stab me now perfect love” hurt. I can’t seem to shake the exhaustion. It makes me sad. I close my eyes to not see all the ways I didn’t love today. It’s hard. In this grace moment, I soak. I soak it like a steamy, hot bubble bath. Pore through me. I have three sons waiting, waiting for me. Somehow managed to get other little ones tucked. Suck air deep. Mind wash clear. Somehow- I got caught in this grace moment. I stay caught… just a little longer.

79.)Daddy’s home today (Sat. 2/11) O! the joy that fills the heart and home… how we have missed as we now tuck 14 Saturdays of workaday weeks behind us…

80.)February snowflakes fall like white fluff of goose down bits, all shapes, fluttering every which direction, up, down, side to side. Twirling. Then streaking, hard. I watch them blow up, down, over the deck. I peer out that frontward streak. Welcome sight of southern winter… I think.

81.)5 tousled boyish heads. 6, if you count my love.

82.)Two pairs of little boy feet, criss-crossed, tucked under, on the same chair. They build legos together, kneeling.

83.)Daiya…especially on pizza night.

84.)How I try so hard to make this special Valentine Tea… and … their happiness- it is a grace. The candle never gets lit and the special white napkins stay in their package. The pancakes get colored with food dye rather than real strawberries and the kitchen and myself- just a mess. The flowers are wilting (from my birthday a week prior but there wasn’t anything suitable in my quick Walmart jaunt) and more… but the smiles and their happiness… O, it was all worth it.

85.)My girl, on the couch, reading aloud to the little boys.

86.)Tulips, rising.

87.)He discovers the first robins and comes announcing… a good half week before his brother noticed. 😉

88.)Tidings of good news. Very good news.

89.)A dinner out with all of us. It was worth it. And I say, let’s do it again. And again. It is good. Good for me and for us all and how their faces- just come right. Into. Focus. Outside of our usual environment. And how I love each precious one- tall lean ones and precocious three year old, and everyone surrounding before and behind.

90.)I see a young man from a distance on the grocery store sidewalk. I am sitting, tucked in our big van, with 7 of our children. I watch this young man look to cross the street. He is tall and lean and looks teen-aged to me. He walks with a lilt and a lift in his step. A handsome young man… I start as he comes closer. Wait. This is my son. My oldest son. Enroute to our van to fetch the keys for Dad inside the store. First-born son- now as tall as me and cresting above Dad’s shoulder. We all laugh when I share the story. My heart is grateful. He is a fine son, a good son. I feel old caught between a rising teen and a teeny baby(ies). My body shapen lumpy, bumpy. Yet, I realize it is futile to ponder that ‘oldness’ feeling. I stare at Todd. I wouldn’t want it any other way. I don’t want him young again. I want him now. As he is, seasoned with our life together, seasoned with all our grey of righteousness, and all the cords of love that wrap us tight. I want him now. So—–, I should accept me, now. I crest on the waves of the years the Lord has given me. I am in His Hand and I am thankful. Thankful. And surprised. One day, I will look around at these precious lives and they will be all grown-up around me and yet I will still be me, me, me. The me who bore that first born son an April more than a decade ago. The me who carried twins 40 weeks, 1 day. The me who studied literature and education and writing. The writer, the poet, in the deepest heart of me. The me who loved, loves, and aimed, aims high. Still. I am still that girl staring out my window in the dark of night, pondering and longing. Its me and You and our eternal bond. Forever. Thankful.

91.)How she calls us “y’all” twice in the same sentence and the deepness of the roll- it just drawls… and how we talk about it later and laugh and we can, no way, in any form, recreate that “y’all” just the way she said it.

92.)A Father/Daughter date… and it is just what she needs. I braid and tuck her hair, just so. We try a splash of perfume, too.

93.)Anticipating the homeschool moms meeting

94.)When I feel lonely, so alone, and isolated, displaced, and confused…”There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” and “His understanding is infinite” and His love for me is more perfect, complete, and soul-filling than ever a human lover’s could be.

Psalm 147
3He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.
4He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.
5Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.

95.)Flowers in their hair…

96.)The sunlight changing. Heralding soon Spring…

97.)He walks in. He walks in to my 5:25 p.m.(2/22) surprise. Light shining, shining still. And I throw arms up in surprise, squeak happiness and, instantly, locked into him. I lock and grip and he laughs. We laugh. I can’t let him go. O, how, how I have longed heart-sore for these days. He comes home. We sit. Then- a bit, and up to get dinner. Plugs in the speakers, does a wild, Toddish dance. I weep happiness. Pandora and every song echoes all the ache in my heart. Daddy’s home- and there is just nothing, nothing like his presence in this house. Kids gather round. None of us know quite what to do… everyone soon productively this and thating…. Except me, I am just- SOAKING. And capturing- because this is a grace… the grace of these days… and how I have stretched taut wondering how to make it here- and here we are. Extended hours- over. Saturdays-over. Todd home. TODD IS HOME!!!!

98.)Big Girl holding Little Girl B is shafting- mid-morning light.

99.)Tall Son holding Little Girl A across his leg and she playing with blondie hair baby doll

100.)The “book” he wrote for me for my birthday- Tree Clan.

101.)Asher’s joyful pounding on the piano

102.)His fingers threaded through mine

103.)It is more blessed to give than to receive Acts 20:35

104.)Sweet, sweet mountain air. Delicious fresh fragrant smell.

105.)Blondie hair just cresting bitty ears, now

106.)Them all clean and sweet after a bath

107.)Care package full of abundant love from a dear, dear, dear friend- spiritual nourishment and helps of all sorts. O my friend- how I miss and love you!

108.)My quiet time basket newly placed by my chair

109.)Free-falling — to land right. Here.

110.)Listening to Rich Mullins with precious kiddos gathered round- and O, the memories.. a dark, starlit night- white Subaru, me, Todd- the movement of those days… “Sometimes the night is beautiful….”

111.) How they love, love love this one and she dances all on her own

112.) I am sitting, listening (Pandora again- this is really a tool in my life) and a young child lisping a portion of this verse from Isaiah 40-
27 Why do you say, O Jacob, and assert, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the LORD,
And the justice due me escapes the notice of my God”?
28 Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth
Does not become weary or tired.
His understanding is inscrutable.
29 He gives strength to the weary,
And to him who lacks might He increases power.
30 Though youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,
31 Yet those who wait for the LORD
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.

113.)Robust dialogue

114.)A dance to David Crowder in a darkened room

115.)Little Ones coming home from church, waving Valentines, faces shining

116.)Girlie baby talk and effervescent babbling. Love.

117.)Ceiling fans spinning, Golden Carolina

Numbers 118-126- written in my handwritten journal.

holy experience